Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Turkey summons U.S. charge d'affaires over Syria

Turkey summons U.S. charge d'affaires over Syria

Turkey's Foreign Ministry summoned the charge d'affaires of the United States, Philip Kosnett, today, making him the third foreign envoy to be called in the past 24 hours amid rising tensions with Russian Federation over the Syrian government's ongoing offensive in Idlib.

The de-escalation zones were set up last September in an effort to scale back the conflict. In 2016, the YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushed the Islamic State out of Manbij-a town on the western bank of the Euphrates-with support from the US-led coalition.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also in the past called the U.S. arming of the YPG "a mistake".

Turkey on Tuesday called the Russian and Iranian ambassadors to its ministry of foreign affairs to ask the envoys to urge the Syrian government in Damascus to end the border violations in the Idlib de-escalation zone.

In Samsun, a Black Sea province in northern Turkey, six defendants, including a so-called imam - a senior terrorist responsible for coordinating FETO cells - were given six-years-and-three-months prison terms each.

Rebels launched a counter attack against Syrian government forces and their allies in Idlib province on Thursday, seeking to roll back an advance that is fueling tension with neighboring Turkey. In other words, the perpetrators of the drone attacks were not local rebels under Turkey's supervision. It seems that a small group of rebels also managed to infiltrate the outer perimeter of Hmeymim; they showered the tarmac with mortar shells from several kilometers away and escaped undetected (RBC, January 4, 2018).

The three countries had agreed past year to establish a "de-escalation zone" in the opposition-held Idlib province and surrounding region, which borders Turkey.

After Syrian troops retook more than 100 towns and villages, according to the United Kingdom -based, pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, they reached the gates of the massive Abu Zuhour air base that was lost in 2015 after a three-year rebel siege ended in a massacre of Syrian soldiers, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. While Russian-backed forces go for Abu al-Duhur, Turkish-supported ones may try to take Afrin and Manbij.

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