How much does the Turkish downing of Russian fighter jet matter for Syria?

Published November 25th, 2015 - 02:58 GMT
After the Turkish downing of Russian fighter jet, plans for Syria are becoming muddled. (AFP/File)
After the Turkish downing of Russian fighter jet, plans for Syria are becoming muddled. (AFP/File)

Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet Tuesday not only ended in fatality, but also threatened peacemaking in Syria. Efforts to bridge divides and combat the shared enemy, Daesh (ISIS), seem to be up in the air as tenuous dimplomatic relations cool after the in-air altercation.

Whatever hint of a compromise following the latest G20 Summit is in danger of evaporating, as countries curled back into to their polar positions. The US and France buddied up and stared down Russia and Iran.

In a widely televised day-long propaganda blitz Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin argued that Turkey, as an ally of the US and France, finances terrorism, according to the Wall Street Journal.

US President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande quickly retorted, claiming they would halt the US-led coalition’s cooperation with Moscow to fight Daesh until Russia changed its plan for Syria. Both spoke of the need to de-escalate tensions, and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed their sentiment, calling for calm.

Obama had also chsnged tune, just days after a positive meeting with Putin in Turkey at the G20.  After the downing of the Russian fighter jet, he said, “We’ve got a global coalition organized. Russia is the outlier.” It seems that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad still is a thorny issue.

It could be quite a tense meeting between Hollande and Putin slated for Thursday. And according to the Wall Street Journal, the downing of the jet is likely to redraw the line of engagement in Syria, and hopes that the Paris attacks could be a catalyst for cooperation seemed to have dimmed.

By Elizabeth Tarbell

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