Turkey, U.S. in talks over east of Euphrates
This past week marked three important developments in regards to Syria and bilateral relations between Turkey and the United States. On October 28, Turkey resumed hitting YPG positions east of the river Euphrates and continued shelling them throughout the week along the Turkish-Syrian border between the Kobane and Zor Magar regions. The second important development occurred as Turkish and American troops launched a long-anticipated joint patrolling mission around Syria’s Manbij city after Turkey’s strong criticisms against the U.S. for deliberately delaying the process. The third came on November 2, through simultaneous statements from Turkey and the U.S. in which they announced that both countries had lifted sanctions they had imposed against each other in August over the continued detention of pastor Andrew Brunson. Although these are concrete steps to ameliorate bilateral ties, the Syrian dimension has the potential of introducing fresh disputes between the two allies and may cast a shadow on the gradual improvement of bilateral ties . ... Senior U.S. officials indirectly warned Turkey over the attacks on the YPG and called on both parties to de-escalate tension and re-focus on the anti-jihadist fight. Turkey says these offensives on the YPG are legitimate, in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter and aim at eliminating the YPG’s capacity to pose threats against Turkey. A White House statement following the Trump-Erdogan phone call called for coordination in Syria in an indirect message to Turkey and said its unilateral offensive on the YPG is a matter of concern in the U.S. At a point where both sides are signaling a willingness to mend broken ties, Turkey and the U.S. should obviously find a rational way to resolve their differences in regards to Syria and coordinate their respective policies to avoid future disputes.