Russian Security Council representative Alexander Venediktov, commenting on an escalation of hostilities in Kurdish Syriua said the U.S. had forced Turkey to military intervention in Afrin by supplying advanced weaponry to the Kurdish independence movement YPG, and setting up around 20 military bases in territory controlled by the YPG.
NATO member Turkey and its main ally the U.S. are now embroiled in a low intensity war of words over the Feb. 25 U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Syria after the regime bombed civilian areas in Eastern Ghouta. Turkish government officials say the resolution applies only to Syrian government and ISIS / Al Nusra forces and its "anti-terror operation" in the semi - autonomous kurdistan region is not covered by the resolution, while U.S. officials suggest that diplomats in Ankara should read the resolution "more closely."
Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" on Jan. 20 to clear Syria’s Afrin district of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the U.S.’s on-the-ground partner in Syria against the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) but long a thorn in the side of the Turkish gvernment as territory claimed by the Kurds extends into Turkey. Ankara sees the YPG as the Syrian arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which both Turkey and the U.S. have designated as a terrorist organization.
As the U.S. pressure Turkey to stop their assault on YPG positions in Afrin, U.N. Under-Secretary for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock said the following: "We are receiving reports of civilian deaths and injuries, and restriction on movement for many civilians as a result of military operations in Afrin. Those who risk moving continue to be stopped at exit points by local authorities in Afrin, preventing them from accessing safer areas. So far, around 5,000 people we think have reached surrounding villages and Aleppo city. Tens of thousands are believed to be displaced within Afrin. The Turkish authorities have emphasized to us their willingness to facilitate humanitarian access. We would like to see aid convoys run from Damascus but that has not thus far been agreed on the Syrian side."
Officials from both sides are expected to meet on March 8-9 in Washington DC to work on a ceasefire agreement, a summit agreed during U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu on February 16 in Ankara.
Meanwhile, a U.S. official, who asked not to be named, told Hürriyet Daily News’ Serkan Demirtas on March 1 that the U.S. was not imposing delays on Turkey regarding Syria and confirmed that U.S.’s ally in the region was Turkey, not the YPG.
In this complex scenarion, Russia emerges as backing NATO member Turkey’s anti-terror fight against NATO’s biggest member, the U.S., which claims that the YPG was needed in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS), while Turkey and the U.S. were treaty - bound as NATO members to form an alliance of solidarity against Russia and terrorism.
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