tv Inside Story 2020 Ep 34 Al Jazeera February 3, 2020 8:32pm-9:01pm +03
the final phase of trump's impeachment trial has started democrats and trump's defense team will each have 2 hours to make closing arguments the u.s. president is accused of pressuring re crane to investigate his political rival joe biden but after the senate voted on friday against hearing for witnesses it's likely trump will be acquitted in that final vote that's expected on wednesday britain's prime minister has outlined the u.k.'s negotiating position with the e.u. the u.k. is now left the block and has until the end of the year to agree on a long term deal with the european union it's inside story now stay with us.
turkish soldiers are killed as fighting intensifies for the last piece of syria held by opposition rebels hundreds of thousands of refugees are caught in the middle on hopes fading peacefully in a 1000000 years of war this is inside school. hello and welcome to the program i'm daryn jordan syria's government is stepping up its campaign to retake the last rebel held province on monday 5 took his soldiers and a civilian became the latest to be killed by shelling on ad lib in the north west turkey backs opposition groups and had sent reinforcements to counter president bashar al assad's offensive syria's main ally russia is blaming turkey for not coordinating its troop movements president russia typo 2 un says his forces
retaliated by hitting syrian military targets and killing up to 35 soldiers and he had this warning from moscow. no no the we told russia you are not al counterparty the regime so don't try to stand in our way it's not possible for us to remain silent when our soldiers died we will continue to hold them to what counts for this butyl of. those who test turkey's determination to such a violent attacks understand the state. meanwhile civilians are caught in the middle the u.n. says the fighting in libya has displaced 390000 people since december many want to cross the border into turkey but ankara says it can't take anymore syrian refugees so let's break down what's happening in syria the war began mainly between forces porting president bashar al assad and rebel fighters who oppose his rule but other
countries soon got involved assad is backed by russia and iran his troops now control almost 70 percent of syria the battle for ad libbed could tip the balance in his favor it is supposed to be one of the deescalation zones agreed by russia iran and turkey that back some of the rebel groups kurdish fighters control around 30 percent of syria in the northeast turkey says they're terrorists and launched an operation against them in october and ankara coordinated with russia to create what it calls a safe zone there to resettle syrian refugees. so let's bring in our guests joining us in the studio is marwan cabal and head of policy analysis of the arab center for research and policy studies in istanbul on skype matthew brian's a former white house official and u.s. diplomat and in moscow glenn dyson professor of international relations at the higher school of economics in moscow welcome to the program matthew bryza in
istanbul let me start with you if i may i mean we know that ankara has been sending reinforcements to it live to counter a syrian government offensive there how significant is this that then on these turkish troops and are we likely do you think to see an escalation in the violence with the turkish response. well it's extremely serious from the turkish government's perspective i mean this is 6 people that were killed largest lost in a clash with syrian regime forces that i can recall but in terms of escalation i actually don't think we're likely to see much because the assad regime does not want an all out conflict with turkey turkey does not want to get bogged down in a military conflict with the assad regime and turkey is having to be extremely careful about how the deals with russia with whom it has worked for so long with russia and iran the so-called astonished peace process in syria and with whom
turkey has such extensive economic relations so with the moscow backing the assad regime there are certain limits to how far turkey can go so my sense is that president arafat one wanted to send a signal to the assad regime and to moscow stop the stop these attacks on turkish troops he has claimed 30 to 35 syrian forces were killed the syrian observatory for human rights has claimed a much smaller number 5 so that would suggest that president airline is signaling here and i would guess for the moment the situation the moment the situation will deescalate so let's put that to blend dyson there in moscow then i mean the rush of intel a key sign that deescalation deal for their back in 2018 but that deal has been frequently violated and now turkey's president has warned russia look don't stand in the way of turkish would tell us and so how is moscow would like to devalue the incident between turkey and its ally syria. well i would agree with the argument
that this is unlikely to escalate primarily because both russia and turkey both put a high priority in terms of this partnership and been developing so moscow would not like to see the syrian government move keep moving forward on this that being said i very much doubt targeting our turkish troops was a deliberate rather they've been fighting this jihadi groups who reside in it live but no but in terms of this agreement to referring to it is there such agreement from september 2018 this was signed. with the assumption well what if they're putting this specific commitments up on that are 2. separate between the terrorist groups and the moderate rebels for the purpose of the subdominant and russia small to be able to negotiate some kind of an end to this with the moderates now turkey has not done this yet and for this reason this as been
a big motivation behind. the recent intensification of the conflict primarily because it live becomes a staging ground to attack both the syrian government's a small less russian presence there so let's bring in my one cabal in here in the studio and said turkey says it's retaliated against syrian targets and as one moscow not to get in the way put this incident briefly into context for a smaller one what does it mean on the ground when i think that russia the turks in fact they want most likely they want to drill and it line for the russians and the syrian regime because that and don't forget this is this is the last of the for the escalation zones which have been agreed between turkey and russia back in 2017 but russia in fact never on that of that that i thought he meant and the actually took them one by one starting from the escalations on damascus and then they moved somewhat. south towards that are they took it also from the opposition forces and
then moved north towards helms they took it and this is the last of the 4 the escalations or so i think russia turkey is very sensitive about this but particularly this this zone because it's in the top fish borders and there is the possibility that the key will be suffering because of the influx of syrian refugees the turks are talking about something like 700000 syrians who have been driven out of their homes because of the recent military escalation by the russians and the syrian regime so i think that russia that the turks here they want to tell them that this is something that we cannot actually take will accept without actually meaning that this will lead to further escalation between the 2 sides and that's an interesting point you make about the refugees i want to bring back matthew in istanbul matthew so what is turkey's game plan in libya i mean we know that president obama does not want a fresh wave of syrian refugees from it live as a result of the fighting between syrian government forces there but it is not like to hold much longer or is it is it going to fall do you think. well certainly
appears that the syrian assad regime and russia are determined to essentially crush it live using the same approach that they used elsewhere in eastern in aleppo which is to target hospitals target schools destroy all the infrastructure level the city to force the inhabitants to leave before the ground troops of the assad regime move in that was the strategy vladimir putin used in grozny in chechnya and as i said is what has been used now in syria russian air support and then the artillery bombardments and ground forces by the syrian regime and i think that's the end game and it's a horrible tragedy and war crimes being committed but i think. really doesn't have the ability to stop this from happening what opera has with the turkish government has as a series of observation posts insight into the problems that provide sort of a trip wire and
a deterrent to the merging of assad or the russian government from moving too far but eventually those those observation posts are going to be under increasing pressure and president everyone will face a very difficult decision of keeping those troops in a terribly dangerous situation or evacuating them yet again game is it's difficult so let's just put that point then to ben dice the must have then i mean the ongoing syrian government has sold on it and it continues to be a point of conflict between russia and turkey their support of course opposing forces but russia wants to syrian forces to take the last rebel stronghold a soon as possible that doesn't it. well i think the syrian government is more inclined to move ahead and work continue because. this will capturing more and more cities and towns so i think they would like to continue i think russia because of its priorities. having good relations with turkey they will seek to slow this down and find some solution with turkey i just met reluctant to comment on this idea
that russia is targeting civilians and hospitals on purpose. this this would make much sense if this is to a large extent become conflict about the hearts and minds so it's not just cruel it would also be very stupid so i would i would dismiss start us very crude propaganda i don't think definitely russia is not targeting and the civilians and if you look at how careful they have been. compared for example the americans incinerated aka i think. i think what one shouldn't argue that ok russia has gone after the surveillance that would make much sense to me though let's let's not bring back my one cabal in here into the debate let's talk about a such a deal for a 2nd because that was critical wasn't it was a huge win for turkey's president to pave the way for to achieve his big strategic goals of moving kurdish fighters from the border and clearing space perhaps to some of the 3500000 syrian refugees living in turkey to go back home he's
a big strategic goals for yeah absolutely i think both the russians and the turks diminished actually to work out something some sort of competition between them and syria we don't know that without the cooperation with the with the with the russians and turkey wouldn't be able actually to take your fifty's shield. area and north of syria they wouldn't be able also to take on i 40 in another could this area and also there is the latest agreement between the 2 sides on the east oil difficulties when the fish army actually infiltrated into the city and borders. a few months ago when the us president announced that he will be willing out from from syria so the cooperation between the 2 sides actually big dividends for both sides because the russians also benefited a lot from the turkish support of the. standard process which is not only about military confrontation on the ground it's also there's a political element of that the of the. clark or that process i think here where
the russians might be jeopardizing a lot of the euro gains in syria stop actually quite a bit in with turkey because at the end of the deal the russians are very much interested in actually reaching our political solution to the syrian conflict they can't just go on like this fighting. for every inch of syrian authorities plus turkey in fact could complicate things a lot for the russians if they decided to supply the syrian opposition with lethal weapons lethal weapons means that heavy casualties will be sustained by the g.m. forces and also i mean there is a possibility that the turks might be also supplying the syrian opposition if the if the if the feel like that if they deemed that necessity for their interest against even the russian air force and that is something nobody really wants neither the turks nor darshan's matthew bryza are in istanbul us you're nodding your head furiously there i mean this latest incident in libya does raise the question about the future of the syria war so what is turkey's game plan here
particularly after signing the sochi deal with russia it's quite clear that russia and turkey pretty much carved up northeast syria for themselves. well i'm not sure that's entirely accurate i don't think that either either the russian government or the turkish government are making a landgrab here i think they have 2 different interests sets of interests that are not identical but they sort of coincide so to me for what's happening for russia is 2 things one it seeks to reassert itself as a great power as a middle eastern power and next been successful at doing it and by the way i mean as we know in northeast syria it's russian troops replace the u.s. troops on the ground when president trying to pull back the the u.s. troops so that's one of the all of russia the other goal of russia i think is to keep on pulling turkey away from the rest of the nato alliance and as well as european allies in the european union for turkey the goal is not to control the
territory necessarily in northeast syria or along the border it's to push out the y.p. g. as they call a terrorist organization and then to reconstruct northern syria and to i think when contracts for turkish companies and to stabilize that area with the future political governance of that region to be determined i think not by turkey but by some form of political process so that both sides both muscling entre are looking for a political way out so let's sell its put that then the whole issue of the such agreement to aggrandize and there in moscow then 3 the turkey russia alliance signed in such it was crucial wasn't it because as matthew was saying the agreement cemented president putin as the main power broker in the region and that boosts putin's preferred outcome of the war doesn't which is allowing his ally bashar al assad to regain more territory. yes that's correct but i also point out that.
such agreement is not a permanent settlement in terms of accepting a frozen conflict in italy russia final objective in syria is nothing less than delivering victory for its ally which is the syrian government and this entails establishing full sovereign control over its territory and also for foreign troops who are occupying syrian territories or the turkestan merican stu eventually leave so it lived then has to come at some point back now like i mentioned before. they decide this such agreement was intended as a temper solution in order to separate the terrorists from. from the moderates and also to reestablish this connection between damascus and aleppo so i think given that it's been a year and a half and both the syrian government and the russians been attacked ultimately i think that they deem this as necessary to push back however i would agree with it
with the former speaker that it snuffs i see it unlikely. russia being interested in going for full military victory right away in italy but i think rather chipping away a few towns and finding a new agreement is the best approach forward in which they actually have a lot in common with turkey in terms of interests let me just move the debate forward quickly and just talk about what this all means for the kurds mullen cabal and when president trump dramatically withdrew u.s. forces from northeast syria did he pretty much throw the kurds under the bus i mean the s.d.f. the syrian democratic forces were crucial in helping to defeat eisel and this jump this is left the kurds in complete shock absolutely initially he did actually throw them under the bus but i think the bin tycoon was a little bit more reserved about this this approach this is why i think it is then decided to keep some u.s. troops in the east and they spot of syria and the pretext of protecting the only for. it's off in order not to be flown in again at the hands of isis or be actually
taken by the syrian at the sea in the regime right now i think the americans are still very much into this scheme. position will be very much affected also in this confrontation with deceiving the regime and by the by extent with russia on how how much support they are going to get from the americans it's really important for the turks that the americans support them in any prospect of future confrontation with their with the syrian regime and the russians without their support i think the turks will be thinking back and with the incident which when they brought down that russian jet jet into 2015 so i think that americans are still very much there and the turks would want actually to see their american supporting them somehow know that to stop this attack by the sea in the gym and it's a shame because i agree with both of you are the speakers actually that the immediate objective of the syrian regime right now is to control them in the boards between hamas and. the theodore ruf your little story with the kurds for
a 2nd here because that deal that russia and turkey signed in sochi pretty much ended any hope of kurdish political autonomy and this was a win win for president erdogan he got rid of u.s. backed forces and they got kurdish fighters to give up ground on the border didn't . they sure did and you know it's important to keep in mind when we talk about kurds in syria the white p.g. and its political affiliates p.y.t. they don't represent all syrian kurds right so from uncle as perspective these are terrorist organizations and in fact it was venice secretary of defense ashton carter a few years ago in the u.s. senate who admitted that while testifying in the senate so from his perspective this this group the white peachy needed to be pushed away from the border because it's a terrorist group but as i was saying before what comes next is not that the kurds writ large as an ethnic group will be banished from northern syria this is where they live so the question is how will they decide how to govern themselves in the
context of what both russia and turkey wish which is to maintain the territorial integrity of syria and the answer to that question is not clear but there are many different syrian kurdish political groupings well beyond the one that the turks view as a terrorist one again doesn't they in moscow that i mean once russia had signed that such a deal in moscow had warned kurdish fighters to withdraw from the turkey syria border will be crossed by the turkish army says far as russia was concerned with the codes expendable i mean one russian official said they've been abandoned and betrayed by the americans. well i guess the yeah the cart. hasn't had best treatment by any any of the major players in this conflict so obvious and not just americans on this but i guess for russia and in terms of seeking some settlement with turkey calls for russia it's trying to be the fair broker in the region and especially get try to get along with every major power. so it's it is
a bit of a. problem there how to organize this with turkey in terms of not having some outcome where the winner takes all so i guess for russia they have more flexibility in the north in terms of recognizing some of turkey's security concerns about this turkish groups along the borders. where again that they did i think there would be more and more in common these are to come with a turkey the main problem is of course in labor this ok i want to continue the way it has been now let's just quickly talk about the humanitarian crisis in the conflict matthew brize of the u.n. estimates nearly 400000 people have been displaced by the fighting and it live just in the last 2 months alone mchugh i mean given that turkey is a major player here how does turkey view the suffering and the refugee crisis just very briefly. well as we all know turkey's hosting 3600000 refugees from the conflict already and until recently this wasn't really
a political issue i think in turkish society the sense was if people in need not on your door you take them in well now though social media and political organizations in general are starting to sense the social stress so turkey yes is keeping the border close to its worried about these 304-050-0000 more refugees trying to get into turkey and i think president everyone has been playing this refugee card with the european union threatening to reopen the floodgates if you will and allow refugees to begin moving from turkey into greece and henri into the e.u. unless the e.u. participates in rebuilding north or. area in finance the reconstruction. i mean the humanitarian situation it was appalling is it not i mean yet many people say look the u.n. security council has repeatedly failed the people of syria and providing desperately needed aid and holding all sides accountable for alleged war crimes what's your view is very very absolutely absolutely right i mean the whole war to actually has failed the syrian people because this war should have been stopped from the it's
early stages it has been going on for the past and 9 years and i i i want to actually go to your guest from moscow said that the president putin and we might succeed in fact in delivering 50 for his ally in the mosques but he will never succeed and. finding a political solution to the syrian conflict without the cooperation of other parts in the war news the policy this is one number 2 is he will never be able to rebuild the country because he will be needing all sort of a cooperation of the west the united states europe and the gulf states as well as to the so this is something that needs a team work rather than let me someone delivering a victory for it let me quickly put that humanitarian issue to glenn dies and gentlemen last month russia and china blocked the renewal of the mechanism established through the un security council that would have allowed aid from syria's neighbors into areas controlled by the opposition russia faces allegations its worsening the humanitarian crisis. well they did take a different position here though they are also concerned about this rearmament of
the terrorist group so again over the past weeks when they liberated new cities they have found a lot of weaponry and a lot of this seems to come from the west so there is this concern that terror and corridor are so used to arm these terrorist groups now that being said obviously this. this humanitarian crisis is a big or a consideration when they make the decisions and i would also add that the it's not in russia's interest either to have hundreds of thousands of people flooding towards alright turkish borders which would not be good for turkey europe or russia for matthew bryza very briefly a final thought how do you see an end to the war very quickly. i see the syrian regime trying to crush it recapture all that territory and then the oh for years there's been a discussion about a constitutional process to create a transition regime that seems so farfetched right now with all this horrible
suffering though it is really hard to reach into that into the future or gentleman so much to talk about so little time thank you very much indeed our guests meaghan cabal and matthew bryza and glenn decent thank you very much indeed and thank you too for watching you can see the program again any time but this being our web site al-jazeera dot com and prefer the discussion go to off the face of the page that's facebook dot com forward slash a.j. inside story you can also join the conversation on twitter handle is a j inside story for me down jordan and the whole team here the place and. i.
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use. this al-jazeera. hello i'm sorry is a down this is the news out live from coming up in the next 60 minutes 5 turkish soldiers and 3 civilians are killed in shelling by syrian forces backed by russia the last rebel held on clive. hong kong shuts down most of its border crossings with mainland china hours after medical workers go on strike. i'm barbara starr in london with the top stories from europe including brussels that man's fair competition why london champions free trade as both sides have very different visions.