Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Uneasy quest for Turkish-US compromise on Syrian Kurds

Uneasy quest for Turkish-US compromise on Syrian Kurds

While the Kurds depend on Assad to reach Afrin, Kurdish sources say they also enjoy leverage over Damascus because it needs their cooperation to source grain and oil from areas of the northeast under Kurdish control.

"These are the worst four days that Eastern Ghouta has ever gone through", said a doctor, who was treating wounded patients at a clinic here.

Moayad al-Hafi, a rescue worker, said his team was targeted as they retrieved bodies near Erbin.

The Syrian government has repeatedly said it only targets militants.

The death toll rose after the bombing of a market in the village of Arbin, where airstrikes killed 27, including 10 children and three women, the monitor said.

Neither Washington nor the Western-backed coalition have offered details on the identity of the attacking forces.

Residents of the besieged Syrian enclave of eastern Ghouta have endured a further day of relentless bombardment by the government of Bashar al-Assad, a campaign that has so far killed more than 200 people and left a ceasefire deal that lasted months in tatters.

Syria's state media said the coalition bombed government-backed troops in Khusham, describing them as tribal fighters.

"Ghouta is drowning in blood", said a doctor in Arbeen, one of the towns in the region.

The conflict in Syria is many-sided, with complex battle lines between multiple rebel factions, Islamist groups, government-backed troops and US and Russian forces.

Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia says he has told the U.N. Security Council that the USA -led coalition's airstrikes on Syrian government-backed troops were "inadmissible" and "deplorable".

Iran, Turkey and Russian Federation are the guarantors of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria.

This week United States forces helped repel an attack by government forces in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, reportedly killing around 100 pro-regime fighters in air and artillery strikes. Russian Federation is a close ally of Assad and is helping the government bomb rebel-held targets.

Turkey's state-run news agency says Turkish jets have resumed airstrikes in the Syrian Kurdish-run enclave of Afrin after a brief lull.

In Damascus, shelling of the old city quarter by rebel factions in eastern Ghouta killed two civilians and damaged houses and properties.

"We should make efforts and take measures in a way that no country feels threatened by its neighbours, " Rouhani said in the meeting with visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday.

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