Fresh meeting between Russian forces and SDF in Syria: Exclusive
Al Mayadeen's sources report that the leader of the Russian forces in Syria, Aleksandr Chaiko, arrived at the Qamishli airport for a meeting with an SDF delegation.
The commander of the Russian forces in Syria, Aleksandr Chaiko, arrived Monday at the Qamishli airport in northeast Syria from the Hmeim airbase in the country's West, sources familiar with the matter told Al Mayadeen.
Chaiko will meet once again with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to discuss the latest developments in Syria's northern front, as well as Turkey's threats about a new military operation on its borders with Syria.
Chaiko had visited the northeastern province of Al-Hasakah last Sunday, meeting with SDF leader Mazloum Abdi, Al Mayadeen sources reported at the time.
In a first, Turkish drones targeted last month a joint base belonging to the International Coalition and the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the western Al-Hasakah Dam, killing two SDF members and wounding 3 others.
The visit comes in light of the most recent escalation at the Turkish-Syrian border following the Turkish air and artillery bombardment of SDF sites and the corresponding missile strikes on Turkish border villages after Ankara accused the organization of involvement in the recent Istanbul bombing.
Russia, Turkey disagree over Syria, but can openly discuss it
Russia is receiving indications from Ankara and Damascus about being open to making steps towards one another and about hopes for a Syrian-Turkish rapprochement, Russia's special presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, told reporters on November 23, following the 19th round of the Astana talks on Syria.
"We hope that we will gradually witness a certain Syrian-Turkish rapprochement, this is simply necessary because these are two neighboring states that should live in friendship. I think that the signals that we have regarding both Turkey and Syria's readiness to take certain steps towards each other, these are steps in the right direction, which will prevent such tragic incidents related to the death of civilians," Lavrentyev said.
Moscow believes the Kurds were "given the go-ahead" to carry out a terrorist attack in Istanbul, he added.
"We cannot say that these terrorist attacks, behind which, as our Turkish partners told us, is the PKK, are some kind of initiative on the part of this structure. Probably, after all, some kind of go-ahead was given to them," he said at a press conference.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced last month that Turkey had launched the "Operation Claw-Sword" offensive with airstrikes targeting Kurdish militants in Iraq and Syria.
It is noteworthy that the US Department of Defense had expressed concern over the recent uptick in military activity in northern Syria, Iraq, and Turkey, citing the danger they pose to efforts to defeat ISIS.
In the same context, Russia has asked Turkey to refrain from a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, senior Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentyev said earlier, because such actions could trigger an escalation of violence.