Putin and Erdogan speak on Syria ceasefire

Russian and Turkish Presidents Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan discuss Syrian ceasefire by telephone and agree it is generally observed. However in many parts of Syria fighting still continues, the date of the Astana peace conference has still not been agreed, and there is no confirmation that Turkey is preventing reinforcements and supplies reaching the Jihadis in Syria from across the Turkish border.

Russia strikes ISIS helping Turkish army near Syria’s Al-Bab

Reports circulate in the Middle East media originating in Turkey that the Russian air force has been action, helping the Turkish army defeat ISIS near the strategically important Syrian town of Al-Bab. Whilst the Russians have not confirmed these reports, they have conspicuously failed to deny them, suggesting that they are probably true.

Turkey at the crossroads following Istanbul shooting

There are no quick or easy solutions to Turkey’s terrorism crisis. However if the crisis is to be overcome Turkey urgently needs to reconcile with Syria and Iraq, in order to secure peace and establish good neighbourly relations with these countries, ending the threat of Jihadi terrorism spreading to its territory. Turks also urgently needs to focus on the fight against ISIS, work for better relations with Russia, and in the long term seek reconciliation with the Armenians and the Kurds.

Ambassador’s murder will not change Russian policy

In hours following assassination of Russian ambassador to Turkey, both Russian President Putin and Turkish President Erdogan renew their commitment to improved relations, whilst Russia looks to exploit the murder to achieve its objective of setting up a Syrian peace conference co-hosted by Russia and Turkey in the Kazakh capital of Astana.