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Is Turkey’s fight against Syrian Kurds enabling Assad?

Ankara’s constantly evolving intentions in Syria have eased the minds of Russia and the Syrian regime as they continue to consolidate their position in Aleppo and beyond.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during an interview with Russian tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda, in this handout picture provided by SANA on October 14, 2016. SANA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTSS7BS

Turkey’s policy aimed at preventing Syrian Kurds from gaining a swath of territory along the Turkish-Syrian border has totally trumped its desire to see the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Developments show that Turkey at this point is even enabling Assad’s drive to regain control of Syria.

The Turkish drive to capture the Islamic State (IS) stronghold of al-Bab, only 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the Turkish border, also aims at curbing Kurdish aspirations. Gaining control of this town has become a matter of prestige for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been arguing for weeks that it is on the verge of being taken.

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