Turkey-US train crash has been avoided — for now





With a view to lowering the tension in Turkish-American relations, US National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added Turkey to their tour of the Middle East last week. One of several complicated problems between Turkey and the US is Ankara’s declared intention to expand its present military operation in the Syrian province of Afrin to another Syrian province, Idlib, where there are US troops. The Americans provide weapons, ammunition and training to the Kurdish fighters of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Before his visit to Turkey on Thursday last week, Tillerson said in Beirut that the US did not deliver heavy weapons to YPG fighters; therefore there are none to take back. This contradicted earlier statements by US officials that said the US was keeping strict records of the weapons supplied to the YPG and that they would be recovered after Daesh was defeated. Few in Turkey considered these US promises realistic, but nobody expected they would be denied so blatantly.

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