January 5, 2017   |   Darius Shahtahmasebi
(ANTIMEDIA) — Why can’t Turkey make up its mind regarding developments in the Middle East?
Turkey has been responsible for transporting weapons into Syrian territory that had been looted from Muammar Gaddafi’s armories in Libya. The border between Turkey and Syria came to be known as the “gateway to jihad” as foreign fighters spilled over into Syria to wage war against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Leaked phone calls have also indicated that Turkey provided ISIS members with expensive medical treatment. On top of that, ISIS oil tankers previously crossed into Turkish territory and provided the terror group with $50 million a month in revenue.
When Russia was making significant advances against ISIS, bombing its oil convoys heading for Turkey, Turkey shot down a Russian jet.
Then, Turkey decided to overtly intervene in Syrian territory, targeting the American-backed Kurdish militant group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes the Kurdish YPG militia, the strongest force in the SDF. Washington previously designated the Kurds the most effective fighting force against ISIS, and targeting them makes no sense if the rationale for the so-called war on terror — to stop terrorism — is to be taken at face value. Turkey made no real efforts to combat ISIS and was still intent on calling for Assad’s removal.
Although Russian and Turkish relations had begun to deteriorate rapidly, an apology from Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan helped these relations get back on track. In October of this year, Russia and Turkey then signed a gas pipeline deal of their own.
At first, it appeared as if Turkey was focusing less on removing Assad from power in Syria and more on rebuilding relations with Russia. Erdogan even went so far as to signal his intent to join the Russia-China alliance, known as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a move that would put Turkey in a quasi-alliance with Syria and Iran.
Then, signaling a completely independent shift from the grasp of Washington — together with Russia and Iran — Turkey was instrumental in establishing a truce at the end of 2016, which was set to be the first step towards Syria’s future stability.
Yet despite all of these developments, Turkey is still very much aligned with the Syrian opposition on the ground and has accused Russia, Iran, and Syria of violating the recently agreed ceasefire.
Missing from Turkey’s assessment of the Iranian-backed attacks in Syria is that Syrian opposition forces in the region currently being targeted in Wadi Barada have the power to cut off the water supply to Damascus’ civilian population. As it stands, the current water supply has been poisoned by diesel. Although some would claim this contamination has been a result of regime bombs, the area of Wadi Barada is purportedly held by al-Qaeda-linked group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, which is not supposed to be party to the cease-fire agreement.
Further, a statement supposedly signed by the so-called White Helmets is making the rounds on social media, asserting anti-Assad rebel groups are responsible for the current water crisis and that they were the ones who cut Damascus’ rebel supply.
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