By: Ted Belman, Israpundit—
The bombing of a pro-Kurdish rally in Ankara highlights the ‘dangerous cocktail’ brewing in Turkey which killed 98 Kurds
US Shifts to Helping Kurds in Syria
LONDON (CBS) — U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the America’s failed program to train Syrian rebels will be replaced with a more ‘strategic approach.’ The overhaul will focus on training Kurdish forces who have a proven track record fighting on the front lines.
“The work we’ve done with the Kurds in northern Syria is an example of an effective approach,” Carter said.
The U.S.’ earlier approach was largely ineffective. The $500 million program produced fewer than 100 soldiers, many who fled, were captured or killed. Some even turned over their U.S.-provided weapons to al-Qaida fighters in Syria.
Carter also pushed back harder on Russia’s ongoing airstrikes against opponents of President Bashar Assad, urging Moscow to stop strengthening the Syrian government.
“Instead Russia can use its significant influence in Syria to bring about political transition from (President Bashar) Assad, which we all know is the real solution,” Carter said.
Russia insists its air campaign in Syria is aimed at ISIS militants.
But Carter says the U.S. sees through Russia’s facade and won’t cooperate unless Moscow changes its strategy.
U.S. officials say some of Russia’s cruise missiles are malfunctioning. Four rockets aimed at Syria reportedly crashed in Iran this week.
Syrian Kurds have expressed their willingness to cooperate with Russia.
This would be a setback for the Turkish President Erdogan, who is seeking to destroy the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), DWN wrote.
In an interview with al-Monitor, the leader of the Syrian Kurds Salih Muslim announced his willingness to cooperate with Russia and Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad, the newspaper reported.
He said the Syrian Kurds are interested in cooperating with anyone who fights against ISIL. Moreover, Russia had promised the government in Damascus that it would respond to any Turkish intervention in Syria, which many Kurds are afraid of.The US, for its turn, has been also increasingly supporting cooperation with the Russians. Many US officials believe that Russia could be helpful in their fight against ISIL, which turned out to be more difficult than expected.
However, Turkey fears that potential Russia’s support for the Kurds may lead to a situation in which a new Kurdish region would form along its southern borders and destabilize Turkey. This could result in a further downturn in the relations between Turkey and Russia, which have already deteriorated after an aviation incident at the Turkish border.
On October 3, a Russian Su-30 fighter jet had briefly crossed Turkish airspace due to poor weather conditions. Russian authorities officially apologized for the incident, saying it was a “misunderstanding,” and promised to avoid such incidents in the future.