The Syrian war has morphed into a “proxy war” between the United States and Russia, claimed Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Numan Kurtulmus, who further warned that the conflict could spill beyond the Middle East.
“If this proxy war continues, after this, let me be clear, America and Russia will come to a point of war,” Kurtulmus told Turkey’s state’s Anadolu news agency, adding that the world is “on the brink of the beginning of a large regional or global war,” according to AFP on Wednesday.
Describing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a “pawn” in the war, Kurtulmus said there is no way that Syrian regime forces can overcome rebels and terrorist organizations fighting against them.
Turkey has taken part in the U.S.-led coalition to remove ISIS terrorist group via air strikes, and it has also supported Syrian opposition fighters to take more territory in the more than five-year-long civil war.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have soured further in the past week after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for a war crimes investigation after accusing Russia of bombing hospitals in Aleppo. Also, French President Francois Hollande called for the International Criminal Court to look into Russia’s maneuvers, while U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson also called for punishment.
Russia-U.S. talks broke down after the bombing of a United Nations and Red Crescent convoy during a ceasefire on Sept. 19. In early October, the State Department announced that the talks were suspended over the failed ceasefire.
In an interview on Wednesday night on a French TV station, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Assad would agree to develop a new constitution and overhaul the political system, but under the condition he would stand for another election.
“If the people do not vote for President Assad, there will be a democratic change of power, but without the help of armed intervention from outside and under strict international control, under UN supervision. I do not understand who could find this proposal unacceptable. It is a democratic solution to the question of power in the country,” said Putin, according to RT.
Now, high-level diplomats from Russia, the U.S., Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Iran will meet in Lausanne, Switzerland, over the weekend to attempt to come up with a new peace plan.
Moscow on Wednesday announced it would hold a new round of talks after confirming Kerry’s involvement. “We would like to have a meeting in this narrow format, to have a businesslike discussion, not another General Assembly-like debate,” Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to Al Jazeera.