Turkey's Erdogan won't meet with Pence and Pompeo

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

On Tuesday the White House announced the vice president Mike hands and secretary of state Mike Pompeii are traveling to Turkey as part of a delegation to negotiate a ceasefire and settlement in northern Syria his pants discussing a phone call between president Donald Trump and Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan president trump communicated to him very clearly and that the United States of America wants Turkey to stop the invasion implement an immediate ceasefire and to begin to negotiate a with Kurdish forces in Syria to bring an end to the violence but air to one told reporters yesterday that he is rejecting calls for a ceasefire while remaining open to negotiations with US officials this rapidly changing situation began when president trump announced a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria just last week it was a decision that was widely condemned by some of his strongest supporters since then Turkish forces and Russian forces have advanced into northern Syria and Kurdish forces are under siege joining me now for an update on what's happening our Washington post reporter Dan Lamont who covers the military an owner on to Bloomberg Turkey bureau chief thank you both for joining me thanks yes owner before we get into the specifics of what's happening let's pull back for a second and try to understand the geo politics at play among others Russia is widely seen as benefiting from the current events in the region how cell I think the last ten days or so boosted Russia's role the said as the main power broker in Syria in general and the north of the country more than it was ever the case that's mainly due to a few reasons led by American decision to throw the subways troops from the area with church match is operating in addition and which was kind of an unexpected decision by the Americans we saw that US that coalition forces already also withdrew from the key border town of mine beach in northern Syria it's not exactly on the Syrian Turkish border but this is not very far away from it and with that decision was so that the Syrian regime forces backed by the Russians to cover mine beach which was at the heart of the long standing role between Turkey and the US bottom line I think is the fact that in all these areas with Turkey remain party at this active in the area the last eight years now is finding that Russia is reading the parts that should deal with in order to seek a solution to its own problems rather than the US in the region now finds it probably a lot more practical just to deal with the Russians instead of read the warning about what the American forces that sis are up to in the areas where it has its eyes so who else has benefited from the situation would you say what along with Russia their main partners in the Syrian war which is the central government in Damascus I think I'd be great Spanish fisheries when we come to Turkey we see that it's a lot more complicated situation where one can talk about maybe some bottles battlefields advances and and and possibly even a victory eventually but it's hard to see how exactly Turkey's president could leverage that battlefield advance in order to emerge victorious leader at home for his domestic audience it's all very tricky and food at the moment I think the US government has shown its capability to read me hurt Turkey's economy and Turkey's government if it really wants to intense too and that could radically change that sort of the that the power balance with a power dynamic between Turkey and the U. S. at in the context of what's happening in Syria and and in terms of adult standing at home Dan to many observers the US is seen as having lost ground strategically why is that I mean objectively diss that a disintegration of American foreign policy out in Syria over the last five years on the Syrian democratic forces were the greatest part on on the ground are in the fight against the Islamic state I rapidly leaving northeastern Syria over the last couple days we have last our greatest partner in that fight on their own and forced to find help elsewhere watched very awkward images in the last couple days of things such as the Americans pulling out of man **** most recently on Tuesday we saw images of Russian forces moving into the basis of the basin managed in particular the Americans that just last a seemingly got their weapons and their vehicles out of but they left behind virtually everything else more less a move in ready base and said tell me Dan to what extent our notions of an Islamic state revival credible or is it premature I think it's a very credible concern there are numerous reports of ISIS fighters getting loose in the chaos most mostly over the weekend but it's a continuing concern as Turkey continues to how to push its boundaries there and with that you have both the Russians and the Syrian regime involved and just a very chaotic situation in general never mind his own right up until the announcement about the US troop withdrawal how was this region of Syria being governed who exactly was in charge of this region has been under the influence and and control of STF for quite sometime now S. yes that's what's your democratic force an important element insincere democratic forces is white P. G. which is eight armed Kurdish group and which is at the heart of the problem between Turkey and US because while the US has been set it's a transactional temporary at relationship with YPG knowing the luggage so to speak that comes with white peachy enters problems with it under has been adamant that it's unacceptable given a temporary transaction great ship to exist between Turkey at between the US and white peachy and that's because Turkey sees the YPG as merely the Syrian offshoot of the PKK that's a separate disorganization the truck has been fighting guest for decades in a bloody war and said organization that's because a today at terrorist group not only by Turkey but by the US and European Union as well this is the heart of the disagreement between Turkey and the US in northern Syria so present to one commented on the upcoming visit from the American delegation what exactly did you tell reporters present aired on today told reporters does reporter is that he's going to meet both plants and pump but more importantly what he said was this we are going to create this buffer zone to sectors of the security so no matter what but if you're really trying to look for a way out for a solution here's our proposal I'm calling on the Kurdish militants were actually said I'm committed terrorists to leave everything they have the ammunition the materials the guns behind and just leave what we call the safe zone northeast in Syria and then this new job creation automatically and naturally will come to an end so we think that this was at a loss way off showing a graceful way to end this chaos it's graceful in the sense that it would allow the Turkish president to go back to its domestic audiences say see I got what I wanted on the battlefield and politically and this is how I deliver my promises without really having to deal with an embarrassing me the tree or political circus show force with any of the players in Syria now whether or not that's something that the US can live with we don't know yet when pensive Pompeia are nonsense we're going to find out but we now know for sure that this is going to be the starting point for the church delegation and add on as they sit down with what vice president pence and a signature of state my computer so Dan in anticipation of that how exactly our national security advisers in the trump administration responding to these latest developments we've seen a situation where because the president chose to hold troops initially just away from the border and then over the weekend completely out of northeastern Syria where they don't have a huge gold at the table are they have a vote are they can pressure Turkey I they can press for sanctions that and they can price for allies to weigh in they don't have the usual influence that American foreign policy presence would have out so they're trying to keep the president on a on a path that's inserting some sort of pressure here but the the the the options they have are much more limited that they would have been dot two weeks ago now one senior administration officials said we're describe this is total chaos we seen really a you know back and forth in terms of policy as is being dictated by the trump administration a lot of backlash from some of his most ardent supporters to what extent are they responding to this backlash now I I think it's something that they're gonna have to eat and they're gonna have to explain for quite some time there was a pretty broad discussion over how the United States should get out of Syria there have been discussions for some time basically that the STF would at some point need to reach an agreement or deal of some kind with the Syrian government and the United States with access robin becomes the way in which this has happened over the last couple days you basically compressed what would have been months of discussions into it really just a you know a few days and as a result of that you've seen the chaos you seem to violence and you've seen the US military you know basically just quietly quietly exiting I stayed right while all of these other players are you are involved in great bloodshed what about current members of the US military how are they responding to all of this it hasn't been universal but I have heard a great deal of chagrin about this I have a great deal of disappointment about this many I see this as a betrayal of a great partner WestJet are no fewer than ten or eleven thousand lives in the battle against the Islamic state they were you know on the battlefield together they weren't firefights together and to kind of just rapidly leave them alone are on their own with the Turkish offensive coming is something that they never thought they would see how is this escalating conflict affected the civilian population in northern Syria from what we know so far one of the great concerns is that it's not just the Turkish military involved there's a number of basically in militants of sorts fighters that are aligned with Turkey but but there they don't play by the same rules all right so you've seen images of civilians being basically executed you've seen images of war crimes happening right in front

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