US welcomes Russian-Turkish deal if it helps fight against ISIS

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ARA News 

DERIK – The United States government says it would welcome the deal between Russia and the Turkish government, if it accelerates the efforts to fight ISIS. But the US says it will not change its positions on the departure of Bashar al-Assad.

Earlier Russia and Turkey reached a deal to improve relations. According to the The Financial Times Turkey’s “priority will be subduing Kurdish rivals and weakening ISIS – aims for which it could expect Russian support in exchange for Ankara dropping its demand for regime change in Syria.”

“As I said last week, to the degree this improved relationship can lead or accelerate efforts against Daesh, particularly inside Syria, then we would welcome that,” said John Kirby, US State Department spokesperson.

“And we’ve said that all along, even with respect to Russia – to the degree that they were willing to focus their efforts against Daesh in Syria, that that was a conversation we’d be willing to have with them,” he added.

However, the US government made it clear that their position on the Assad regime has not changed.

“We continue to believe that he [Assad] can’t be a part of the long-term future of Syria, that the Syrian people deserve a government that’s responsible for them, responsive to their needs, not barrel bombing them. And so nothing’s changed about our view of Assad,” Kirby said.

Assad regime supporters have welcomed the agreement between Turkey and Russia, and hope it will improve the situation of the Syrian government. This while some Kurds worry it could be used against Kurdish achievements in northern Syria since both Turkey and the Syrian government oppose any form of federalism in Syria.

“I think the new relationship between Turkey and Russia is good, and it will end the war,” Abu Joni (55), a Christian citizen from the town of Derik, told ARA News.

“Terrorism has reached Turkey, and now they are changing their policy,” Joni said.

Speaking to ARA News, Omar Sheikhmous, a veteran Syrian Kurdish leader and one of the founders of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), said that the deal could affect the relations between Syrian Kurds and Turkey.

“The Russians will reduce their level of engagement and support for the Kurds, but they will not be cut off,” he said.

“These are very pragmatic and authoritarian regimes (…). They will think of future shifts in their relations. Erdogan is trying very hard to contain the threat from PKK and PYD. Expect some improvements of relations with Assad as well,” the Kurdish academic and veteran leader said.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg 

Source: ARA News 

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