On the fifth anniversary of the US government declaring that Assad must go, the battle for Aleppo rages and major political and military realignments are in the works. Syria bombed Kurdish security forces (Ayaysh), with US commandos nearby. The US scrambled fighter jets, warned Syria, and now patrol that airspace. Russia has increased airstrikes and is using an air base in Iran.
Russia is also deploying a combat ship to the Gulf of Aden. There are unconfirmed reports of US nuclear weapons moving from Turkey to Romania.
_ Turkey plans to join Russia and Iran in a “peace project” according to Iran’s deputy foreign minister. Turkish president Erdogan will visit Tehran next week “to discuss a Russia-Turkey-Iran coalition to fight terrorism in Syria.” Earlier this week Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim “said it is time for Ankara to normalize ties with Damascus.”
_ The “improvement of Turkey’s relations with Iran after the coup, has gone largely unreported if not totally unnoticed.” Turkey now realizes that ISIS should be its “primary concern in Syria.” Gareth Porter calls it a “stunning diplomatic surprise” and the “first significant diplomatic break in a five-year international conflict on Syria.”
_ Turkish prime minister Cavusoglu said: “It seems to us that NATO members behave in an evasive fashion on issues such as the exchange of technology and joint investments. Turkey intends to develop its own defense industry and strengthen its defense system. In this sense, if Russia were to treat with – this with interest, we are ready to consider the possibility of cooperation in this sector.” When asked about this, State Dept. spokesman John Kirby said the US has no concerns about this kind of bilateral agreement between Turkey and Russia, and Turkey remains an important part of NATO.
_ An op-ed in Kurdish media asks: “Does the Turkey-Russia-Iran …