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World

UPDATED: Top military chiefs from Turkey, Russia, United States meet in Antalya

By Rudaw 7/3/2017
US Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, and Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar all met in Antalya. Photo: US Defense Dept.
US Chairman of Joint Chief of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Chief of Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, and Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar all met in Antalya. Photo: US Defense Dept.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The three highest military officers from Turkey, Russia, and the United States met in Antalya, Turkey in order to discuss deconfliction between their forces and allies on the ground in Syria.
 
Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, US Chairman of Joint Staff of Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, and Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov all met, Hurriyet Daily News reported, citing a statement released by the Turkish military.

The military leaders discussed enhancing “senior-level communications and operational deconfliction of military operations in Syria,” the US Department of Defense reported, noting that the battlespaces around Manbij and al-Bab are “crowded.”

The US and Russia have dedicated deconfliction communication channels to keep each other aware of their activities in the skies over Syria and ensure no conflicts arise. In their meeting on Tuesday, the Department of Defense reported, the three generals discussed extending the deconfliction process to ground operations as well.
 
The three countries continue to back various fighters in northern Syria bringing them within close proximity of each other's forces, particularly around the city of Manbij this week.

Russia brokered an agreement for local forces in Manbij to hand over territory west of the city to the Syrian army in order to create a buffer zone between US-backed Kurdish and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Manbij and Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces advancing towards the city with the stated goal of pushing out Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) allegedly stationed there. 

The US deployed its special forces to the Manbij area in a show of strength and support for the SDF.

Clashes between the FSA and Manbij forces have continued but officials in Ankara have backed off their rhetoric regarding military operations in Manbij. 
 
"Without coordination with the United States and Russia, conducting an operation in Manbij is meaningless," Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told A Haber, adding that on this matter the Turkish side has continuous discussion with these two sides.
 
Turkey and the United States, both members of NATO, do have some military coordination. The US and other coalition forces are using Turkey’s Incirlik’s military airbase in the province of Adana to carry out airstrikes against ISIS.
 
Turkish officials in August denied that Russia had also asked to use the air field.
 
“Russia had no demands to use Incirlik air base. Those reports are not true,” Yildirim said then. However he did say that if Russia wants to use the base to attack Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria, it is welcome to do so.

The US and Russia are not working together militarily, beyond their deconfliction program, but both are involved in many of the same battlefields in Syria. 
 
Russia deescalated clashes between Syrian-backed government forces and Turkish-backed opposition forces near al-Bab in February; additionally, the United States coordinated with Turkey to strike targets near ISIS-controlled al-Bab in mid-January.
 
US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian, spokesperson of the international coalition to defeat ISIS, has downplayed reports of concurrent Russian and American military operations near al-Bab.
 
“We do maintain our channel for de-confliction with the Russians,” Dorrian said.

The meeting of top generals came ahead of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's two-day visit to Moscow, which is expected to start on Thursday, according to Anadolu Agency.

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Ben | 7/3/2017
The picture says it all, look at the pathetic sorry expression on Hulusi's face as he's being squashed between the American and Russian generals who are not even acknowledging his presence!. Must've been humiliating for him to kiss US and Russian hands and beg them to not be kicked out if Syria, and all this so that Erdo can win in the upcoming referendum. Unfortunately for them, neither the United States nor Russia want Erdogan to win so I wouldn't be shocked if Turkish troops or their proxies get feel the heat soon.
kurd | 8/3/2017
Ben@ you are a brainless worshipper of PKK. actually, they are talking about how to destroy party of thugs and drugdealers (PKK)
Non kurd | 10/3/2017
They are discussing the partition of syria into their zones of influence and ways to deconflict forces.
nemrud | 11/3/2017
kurd@ no effend but are you a jash? Insted of uniting you divide way to go so caled hawal.help the turk and daesh with this kind of comments show the enemy how we are devided i bet they laughing in ankara, bagdad, damascus ,theiran stop deviding kurds. When we kurds gona stop this trible mentalety. Think bigger think for the benefit of all kurds dont think for trible benefit only all kurds must unite no matter what religion politic view or wich part of kurdistan they live, for our own sake UNITE!!!!!!!!!
Turk | 14/4/2017
The kurds want a piece of turkey for them selfs so they have a country. So they do terrorist bombings in Turkey.. thats wants nothing to do with him... Do You Really Blame Them!!! And Ben i have no idea how you got all that from one picture...

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