Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s 2nd Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. (photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Juan Cole | Informed Comment | Reader Supported News | November 27, 2015
urkey’s government is very unhappy today about developments in Syria.
President Obama’s special envoy, Brett McGurk, said Sunday that the some 50 men from special operations forces will arrive in Syria in the very near future. But Turkey has been upset that the US troops will be deployed in support of the YPG, the leftist Kurdish party. Turkey is afraid that autonomy or semi-autonomy for Syrian Kurds with make Turkish Kurds restive.
The US has also stepped up its diplomatic campaign, with Sec. of State John Kerry commenting on the recent meeting on Syria that we could be “weeks away” from the beginning of a transition:
“”AT this time there is a genuine process which presents certain possibilities. Four weeks ago we did not have such a process. In other words, until we convened in Vienna approximately four weeks ago, we did not have a viable political process. We have found a common agreement on the principles and established a concept of giving life to a negotiation with Iran and Russia at the table. When we look at the past four and a half years, we see that this is a unique development. And we have reached the next phase in Vienna, we have determined the dates– specific target dates. In a very important manner, all the sides have agreed on a cease-fire. Currently we are only in need of launching a political process and with that, the cease-fire will go into effect. This is a gigantic step. [French President Francois] Hollande also noted this. If we can get that done, that opens up the aperture for a whole bunch of things.”
The Vienna process imagines regime talks with the ‘moderate’ rebels beginning in January, with a ceasefire in May of 2016 and new elections in May of 2017.