The Syrian knot: what they say Putin and Obama in China

Meeting on Syria

A personal meeting between US President Barack Obama and Russian leader Vladimir Putin will be held on Monday, September 5, in the framework of the G20 summit in China, told the press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov. He did not specify what the format of the meeting and what topics will be discussed by the presidents of the two countries. Previously, he did not rule out that the presidents will discuss the issue of settlement in Syria.

This is the first personal meeting of the two presidents this year. The last time Obama and Putin met at the summit of “twenty” in Antalya. At the meeting on 15 November last year the leaders also discussed the Syrian issue.

Putin has discussed the situation by phone with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The heads of state talked about the Turkish operation “Shield of the Euphrates, and the delivery of humanitarian aid in Aleppo. At the summit the two leaders — Putin and Erdogan focused on other matters — the food embargo and Charter flights.

The situation in Syria the Russian President before the meeting with Obama also discussed with the Prime Minister of great Britain (part of the US coalition and the West) by Teresa may. They met at the summit on Sunday, September 4, it was the first meeting of Putin with British Prime Minister since the dialogue Putin and David Cameron in November 2015. Also on Sunday evening Putin discussed Syria with Deputy crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman.

Problem areas

Sunday on Syria, said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of state John Kerry. After the meeting, Kerry told reporters that Moscow and Washington remained “a pair of sharp serious questions” that they intend to discuss on Monday morning.

In February 2016, Lavrov and Kerry have agreed on the basic terms of the armistice in Syria. However, beginning in March, the truce did not last long, and Moscow with Washington continued negotiating the terms of a lasting ceasefire and fight the terrorists.

Lasted all summer consultations hampered by the fact that the U.S. passed Russia a list of supported Syrian opposition groups — without it, they couldn’t strike at terrorist groups, not being sure of their location. 26 August, during talks in Geneva, Kerry finally gave Lavrov the expected list. Then the parties confirmed that established direct contact between the military on the Russian air base in Syria and an American military base in the Jordanian capital Amman.

Without concessions from the Russian side of the conflict impossible to resolve, ” Obama said at a joint press conference with Theresa may. The US wants to deal obliges Russia not to allow military aircraft of the Syrian government to bomb areas occupied by the opposition. They also want elimination of the regime’s forces from a key supply route North of Aleppo, said in a letter to U.S. special envoy on Syria, Michael Ratna armed opposition, which was quoted by the Agency Reuters. In exchange, the U.S. will be coordinated with Russia in the fight against al-Qaeda, says the document.

The redistribution of influence

The meeting between Obama and Putin promises major changes, but will strengthen the agreements reached earlier between Kerry and Lavrov, the head of the Center for Arab and Islamic studies, Institute of Oriental studies, Vasily Kuznetsov. The development of the conflict affected not talks between Washington and Moscow, and the situation in the conflict area and the location of the parties. “More than agreed Kerry and Lavrov in Geneva, should not be expected. Any major joint action to combat terrorists will not be”, — agrees the President of the International center for geopolitical analysis Leonid Ivashov. Both experts claim that at the meeting between Obama and Putin, we are not talking only about the coordination of actions of the armed forces of both countries, but also about the operations of Turkey, and the Kurdish problem.

“Maybe it will be about the redistribution of spheres of influence in Syria,” — said the head of the St. Petersburg centre of studying of the modern Near East Gumer Isaev. The expert notes that none of the parties in the Syrian process no overlapping interests. “Russia is trying to save Assad, Turkey — Kurdish split ring on the border, and the United States to prevent the strengthening of Moscow and Tehran in Syria,” indicates a situation Isaev. Against this background, the expert concludes, the negotiations can go on the federalization of the country and the support of various regions and movements inside Syria.

The talks between Putin and Obama will be on the background of the Turkish operation “Shield of the Euphrates, which started in Syria on 24 August. In 12 days of operation opposition forces “Free Syrian army” (FSA) with the support of heavy weapons, artillery and aviation of Turkey was able to seize the border town Glabrous and the adjoining areas to the West of the country. Moscow has expressed concern the ongoing operation, but openly Ankara’s actions are not criticized. According to Isaev, it indicates that Russia, USA and Turkey reached an understanding on this issue and was able to explain to each other their interests in the region.

Complicate the position of Russia’s recent conflict with the Iranian leadership about the Hamadan airbase. Russian strategic bombers had used base less than a week, after which he was forced to leave the airport. Despite this, both sides ‘ official statements on Monday emphasized that cooperation does not end and may be continued. The position of Iran and the operation of Turkey will not become weak points of Russia in the negotiations, said Isayev. “Washington has a strong position a priori. The country has a military presence in the region, it is possible to control financial flows and grouping on the spot”, — says Isaev. He noted that despite Washington’s position as a peacemaker, the status of the only superpower on hand to Obama in these negotiations.