Washington says “has to work with Russia” in Syria

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SHAFAQNA – The US leadership appears to have finally understood that Washington and Moscow should join efforts to stop the bloodshed in and bring lasting peace to Syria, James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, told PressTV. But although US State Secretary John Kerry’s visit to Moscow is a good sign, it might not be definitive, he added.

“I am not sure of the notion that there is a real change here. There is a history of Mr. Kerry going to Moscow, meeting with Mr. Lavrov or Mr. Putin, saying conciliatory things and then saying the exact opposite when he gets back to Washington,” Jatras observed.

Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin have repeatedly urged Washington to work together in Syria, but US policymakers have largely been reluctant. The latest developments indicate that this could be changing. Jatras referred to it as “a change in the landscape.”

In his opinion, Turkey’s U-turn on Russia has played a major role in this process.

“Turkey has made conciliatory gestures toward Russia. Ankara has even raised possibility of normalizing relations with Damascus. There is some possibility that Turkey may be walking away from its support for some of the terrorists, especially after what happened at the Istanbul airport. If that is the case, we could be looking at a very different context in Syria,” he said.

Fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate Al-Nusra Front. (File)

Turkey has long been accused of providing assistance, including funding, weapons and supplies to terrorist groups trying to overthrow Bashar al-Assad. In the years following the foreign-sponsored insurgency in Syria, Ankara has increasingly viewed al-Assad, once an ally, as its adversary. This could be changing at a time when Daesh has carried out several high-profile terrorist attacks in Turkey, including suicide bombings at the country’s largest airport.

Jatras referred to these developments as “the handwriting on the wall” that policymakers in the US have to take into account.

“I think people in Washington … see that they have no alternative but to work with Russia. I hope that is the case, but I am not sure that it is,” he noted.

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Moscow on Thursday to discuss a range of bilateral and international issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The Syrian crisis and greater cooperation between Russia and the US in the war-torn Arab country are said to be the main topics on the agenda.

Prior to bilateral talks with Kerry, President Putin mentioned his latest conversation with US President Barack Obama, saying that it “convinced me that we are sincerely striving not only to maintain and develop our cooperation but also to achieve positive results.”

For its part, Washington is rumored to have sent Moscow an offer to launch a joint operation against al-Nusra.

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