“russia and Iran are both trying to bolster a brutal regime in syria, limit US military influence in Iraq and Afghanistan and fracture the longstanding strategic partnership between the US and Turkey,” Gen. Joseph Votel said in a written statement submitted to the House Armed Services Committee before attending its hearing on Terrorism and Iran in Congress.
In his testimony during the hearing, Votel said Moscow plays the role of both arsonist and firefighter, fueling tensions among all parties in syria by supporting the Bashar Al-Assad regime and adding complexity to the defeat Daesh campaign.
Following Votel’s remarks, South Carolina Republican Representative Joe Wilson asked Votel what has been done in order to continue the important alliance with Turkey, describing it as a valued ally of the United States for nearly a century and a member of NATO that “has been fighting side by side with Americans for freedom”.
Votel said Turkey has been “absolutely vital” throughout the entire campaign against Daesh, adding that Ankara certainly has serious concerns about “PKK terrorism” which has created some tension with some partners of the US in syria.
The US communicates with Turkish officials in a transparent and clear way about the things the U.S. is doing on a day-to-day basis with its partners, he continued.