Ankara, incensed that USA -led coalition forces opted to back the coalition of Arab and Kurdish paramilitaries - known as the Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF - to battle Islamic State, launched the operation in August. With all sides pushing into terrorist-held territory, the potential for clashes between the players is rising.
Both Moscow and Washington confirmed the three-way talks in Antalya.
It marked the second meeting in a month between Dunford and Gerasimov, as senior USA military officials have called for increased talks to "deconflict" operations in Syria and make sure there are no collisions between US and Russian aircraft.
In fact, according to one general, the Russian jets recently targeted villages held by us -backed Syrian Arab Coalition fighters shortly after ISIS were forced out of them.
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Mercy Corps said in a statement Wednesday it was continuing to "seek dialogue" with the Turkish authorities to resume operations that constituted one the largest humanitarian operations for Syria. Right next to them are pro-government Syrian regime forces. It noted that areas like Manbij have become "a crowded battlespace" and the proximity of the various forces had created "a unsafe situation". Before, the two officers had not met face-to-face since 2014, when the United States broke off most contact between the USA and Russian militaries after Moscow launched military operations in Ukraine and annexed that country's Crimean Peninsula as its own. USA forces were less than five miles away at the time.
It added that the leaders will exchange views on regional and global issues, particularly Syria.
Though Yildirim conceded that it was inevitable Turkey would have to coordinate with both the U.S. and Russian Federation on its actions in Syria, much of the point of Turkey's August invasion of Syria was about attacking the YPG, and with Turkish forces seemingly blocked from attacking Manbij, it's likely they'll try to hit Kurdish towns elsewhere instead.
The Kurds have attempted to remain mostly neutral in the fight between the Syrian government and opposition groups, but drifted closer to the government as Islamist groups, including those linked to ISIS and al-Qaeda, became increasingly influential among opposition forces and frequently attacked Kurdish and other minority positions.