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Relentless Discussions between Ankara and Moscow to Save Euphrates Shield - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Ankara, Beirut- In a rare move to discuss the latest logistic and political developments in Syria, the “Ankara-Moscow” axis has lately witnessed heated talks after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made two telephone calls to his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in 24 hours from Friday till Saturday.

The Assad regime has been fiercely shelling positions of Free Syrian Army forces operating with Turkey’s Euphrates Shield in northern Syria.

Therefore, Ankara now seeks to secure an environment supporting the finalization of al-Bab battle, and the continuity of the Euphrates Shield operation without witnessing additional losses, after Turkey lost five soldiers and a number of tanks in only two days last week.

However, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that talks between Erdogan and Putin came only after Ankara was convinced that Moscow did not play any role in the deadly attack launched by the Syrian regime on the Turkish soldiers in the Aleppo suburbs.

Last Thursday, an air strike thought to have been carried out by Syrian regime forces left three Turkish soldiers dead, the first time Turkish troops have been killed by Syrian forces while fighting inside the country, the Turkish military said.

Ankara knows that Iran might have been involved in the attack, sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The visit of Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu last Saturday to Iran, where he met President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif aimed at sending a message to Tehran, which is the main ally of the Assad regime, to open new channels concerning the situation in Syria and Iraq.

Sources say that securing the Russian and Iranian positions would definitely serve the Turkish targets in Syria, after the battle of al-Bab became harder in the presence of reinforced ISIS positions around the city.

Despite the difficult phase that al-Bab operation is currently witnessing, observers say that Ankara was able to achieve two important objectives: Stop ISIS from launching missiles at Turkish border cities and separate the two areas that the Kurdish Syrian forces control.

At the level of the Syrian opposition, certain proposals made by parties seeking a peaceful solution in Syria come at a time when a European Union document was leaked.

The document stresses the need to build a “democratic state” in future Syria and reunite all Syrians under the umbrella of a civil state.

However, there is a dispute within the opposition on two basic details: The role of minorities listed under the title of “decentralization and federalism.” The second deals with the reconstruction phase.