Jihadist positions in al-Bab, a town 20 km from the Turkish border targeted. An "unusual" collaboration between fronts opposed to one another. Russian spokesman: Several vehicles involved, "very effective operations." Iran against the "hostile" US presence at the peace talks in Astana.
Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - For the first time Moscow and Ankara have carried out joint air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State objectives (SI). The Russian Ministry of Defense yesterday announced that the fighters of the two countries - once on opposing fronts and now at the forefront of the peace talks in Astana, Jan. 23 - hit the suburbs of the town of al-Bab , in the province of Aleppo. Even the Turkish army speaks of operation "in coordination" with Russia.
Al-Bab, about 20 km away from the Turkish border, has been the epicenter of a fierce battle between Syrian rebels backed by Ankara, the militias of the Islamic State and Kurdish forces in the last five months. Earlier this week the United States also carried out air strikes in the area, in cooperation with Ankara.
Analysts and experts emphasize the "unusual" cooperation on the military level between Russia and Turkey, a NATO member state. Moscow has released some information related to military means involved in the operation, while there are not yet specific details on the military cooperation between the two countries.
Local sources speak of heavy Turkish army attacks against jihadist militias in al-Bab and the outskirts of the town. The Russian air raid could, in this view, favor the advance of Turkish ground troops.
In this context of new alliances and collaborations between once opposing fronts, what role the United States intends to play remains to be seen, after Donald Trump is officially sworn in as President tomorrow.
To date, doubts surround the American presence at the peace talks in Astana. The declared aim of the talks is the stabilization of the "fragile" ceasefire in force since midnight on 30 December, and to encourage political dialogue between the opposing sides. Iran hast stated it does not want US interference in the peace process. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has said “We are hostile to their presence and we have not invited them".
Moscow and Ankara have opened up to - if not insisted –the new US administration attending meetings. "At this point, we have to maintain the Tripartite formation in place" stressed Bahram Ghasemi, spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, according to which "any enlargement could increase the risk of failure."
Moscow (and Damascus) continue the bombing campaign on the eastern sector. Spokesman for the Kremlin: the United States "not constructive rhetoric." Kerry Washington responds: we are "on the verge" of breaking off negotiations. The testimonies of Aleppo families who have fled the area in the hands of the rebels. The Gulf countries are ready to provide new weapons to anti-government militias.
During the election campaign the new US president had called the campaign against Damascus "madness". The Syrian leader calls for "caution" in "judging" Trump’s choices. But remain the "doubtful" that he can "keep" his promises. Moscow and Damascus resume bombing of Aleppo.
Due to be published by August. The two super powers are pressing on Damascus and the opposition for "direct talks" and a strengthening of "political transition". The goal is the formation of a "transitional government". Government forces advance on Palmyra.
The victims include Abu Firas and his son as well as several foreign fighters. Uncertainty about the author of the attack, the Syrian air force or Russian forces. Targets of extremist movement Jund al-Aqsa also hit. The Alawite leaders distance themselves from Assad: Syria is not tied to a family but to democracy and rights.
The head of UN humanitarian operations speaks of people "isolated, starved, bombed without any medical care and humanitarian assistance." Government forces charged with deliberate use of "cruel tactics". In November, the rebels rockets on Aleppo killed more than 60 civilians in the western sector. The Security Council’s inaction.