The events unfolding in northern Syria signal that the United States and Turkey could have coordinated their steps, without declaring this in public, Chairman of the Board of the Valdai International Discussion Club’s Development and Support Foundation Andrei Bystritsky told TASS on Monday.
"The withdrawal of the first US troops from northern Syria apparently served as a signal for Turkey to launch its war plans. Another case in point was that a US general had said that up to 1,000 soldiers deployed there were facing a dire situation and needed to be immediately evacuated. I have a feeling that this seems to be part of a strange deal between Turkey and US," TASS quoted the expert as saying.
"This turned out to be a strange situation because at first glance everything looks as if the Americans have been deliberately acting counterproductively no matter how they described their goals," he explained.
Commenting on a remark by US Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who claimed that the Turkish army would nevertheless continue its offensive in northern Syria despite the presence of US troops there, Bystritsky doubted whether this scenario could be genuine. "It seems to me that is highly unlikely that Turkey could blatantly act against its US allies, putting the lives of American soldiers at risk. From all viewpoints, this would trigger a tough US response," he stressed.
"Probably, there could be some sort of a bargain in this maneuvering by Turkey and the US," the political commentator noted.
According to him, through its steps, Washington somehow encouraged dialogue between Damascus and the Kurdish forces. "The Kurds openly say that they have to choose between a looming genocide by Turkey and a compromise [with the Syrian government]. Certainly, the Kurds are going to choose a compromise."
Bystritsky suggested that Syria and Turkey could strike a bargain or draw up a deal to avoid a military standoff.
On October 9, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched an offensive in northern Syria, dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units. The objective is to establish a safety zone in northern Syria for protection of the Turkish border. Ankara hopes Syrian refugees could return there from Turkey. The Assad government’s state news agency SANA slammed Erdogan's operation as an act of aggression. The world community has condemned Ankara’s actions.