Turkey 'summons top U.S. diplomat' over Syria Kurd forces

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The Pentagon has rejected Russian insinuations that US forces were involved in recent drone attacks against Russia's air base and its naval facility in western Syria.

Ankara has been nominally been working closely with Russian Federation and Iran to end the Syrian conflict over the last months, but has stepped up pressure on Moscow and Tehran as the bombardments on Idlib intensified over the past week. The regime is advancing inside Idlib.

Syrian peace talks in the past have continuously stalled, mainly because of disagreements over Assad's role in the country's political transition.

The Russian Defense Ministry named the opposition-controlled village of Muwazarra in southern Idlib province as the location from which a swarm of at least a dozen drones armed with crude explosives was launched Saturday, attacking the Hmeimim air base and the nearby naval base of Tartous in northwestern Syria. This was stated by the Russian Defense Ministry, FOCUS reported quoting TASS.

According to the Rand Corporation's Clarke, through a military operation and efforts to lead a political transition, Russian Federation ultimately wants to project its influence and compete with the United States, in its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation role, as a leading power.

"They thought the base was secure, but now it seems it is vulnerable", he said. "We have exerted so many efforts and we can not waste them".

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"What I am seeing here is the use of the presence of al Nusra and HTS as an excuse to attack civilians and moderate oppositions", Cavusoglu added. Moscow and Ankara have backed opposite sides in the conflict, but they struck a deal past year to set up de-escalation zones, which also involved Iran, another Assad backer.

The de-escalation zones were set up last September in an effort to scale back the conflict.

The foreign ministry told Russia's Ambassador to Ankara Alexei Yerkhov that the violations must end until the "Syrian National Dialogue Congress" is held on January 29.

Turkey has repeatedly criticised Washington over its support for the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units militia, which Ankara views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

A monitoring group, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the attacks were carried out by an Islamist rebel faction that operates in Latakia Province, where the Hmeimim base is located, according to the Associated Press news agency.