Turkish President Erdogan is beating the drums of war ever harder as his army could be seen today moving large swaths of personnel and tanks towards its border with Syria today whilst his foreign ministry has at the same time opened communications with Russia, asking them for permission to conduct airstrikes over Syrian airspace, more specifically in the region of Affrin, where the Kurds have a 30,000 strong army present.
Importantly, the Kurdish rebel fighters, who were largely responsible for defeating ISIS in Syria, are backed by the US.
Rex Tillerson the US Secretary of State, gave a speech on the Syrian situation yesterday in which he assured Turkey, a Nato ally, that the presence of their troops on the ground in the Syrian northern provinces was only to train troops stationed there and would not interfere with Turkish matters.
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Tillerson stated he did not want to make the same mistakes as the Obama administration made in 2011 when it withdrew US troops from Iraq too soon and therefore wishes for a longer presence in Syria.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">At my meeting w/ <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/US?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#US</a> Secretary of State <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RexTillerson?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RexTillerson</a> in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Vancouver?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Vancouver</a>, I clearly stressed grave consequences of US initiative on establishment of so-called “Northern Army” with terrorist <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PYD?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PYD</a>/YPG & reemphasized our strong determination to eliminate any threat against <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Turkey?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Turkey</a>. <a href="https://t.co/LPo2JqoBaL">pic.twitter.com/LPo2JqoBaL</a></p>— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) <a href="https://twitter.com/MevlutCavusoglu/status/953669032938475520?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 17, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Turkey, however, was not impressed with this communication and continued to increase its military presence in the region. They see the presence of a large military force, mostly Kurdish on their Southern border, as a threat and are therefore threatening to launch a full out war.
Syria’s regime meanwhile, though it’s deputy foreign minister, has stated that its airspace is not open for Turkish planes, that I’s own air force is back at full strength and that it will shoot down any jets it sees flying over its northern territories.