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A three-step waltz

14 8 0

Today’s meeting at the Russian resort town of Sochi between Presidents Putin and Erdoğan will likely determine the course of events in Syria. The meeting is taking place at the waning hours of what the American side of an agreement with Turkey calls a ceasefire and the Turkish side calls a pause. Mr. Putin is expected to lay out Russia’s positions concerning developments in Syria, as explained in detail by Duvar English columnist Aydın Selcen yesterday, since Turkey’s military intervention sanctioned by President Trump.

It is highly likely that Mr. Putin will object to a continuation of the operation even if the Turkish side is not fully satisfied with the pace of the withdrawal by Kurdish YPG forces. It is also expected that the Russian side will push for a return to the Adana Protocol signed between Turkey and Syria back in 1998. That agreement stipulates that the zone within which Turkey can operate against terrorist elements of the PKK is limited to 5 kilometers. Yet an immediate withdrawal by Turkey from the area already occupied between Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain will not be on the agenda for the moment.

The fate of the enclave of Idlib should be a topic of discussion and Turkey’s presence to the east of the Euphrates river may be predicated on its withdrawal from that area so that the regime can re-occupy this part of the country as well. Similarly, the American administration will also want an extension to the cessation of hostilities, reminding the Turkish side that a different course of........

© Duvar English