US And Russia On The Brink Of War, Turkey Warns

| by Zach Cohen
Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack ObamaRussian President Vladimir Putin and US President Barack Obama

Turkish officials expressed concern over the relationship between Russia and the United States, calling the conflict in Syria a "proxy war."

Numan Kurtulmus, Turkey's deputy prime minister, says that the Syrian civil war is at risk of escalating into a "wider regional war," reports The Independent.

"If this proxy war continues," Kurtulmus said, "after this, let me be clear, America and Russia will come to a point of war."

Reuters reports that a week-long ceasefire brokered by Washington and Moscow was broken in September when the Syrian government launched an assault on rebels in Aleppo with air support from Russian forces.

Following the offensive, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry broke off talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. The talks are set to resume in Switzerland on Oct. 15. 

On Oct. 6, Kerry called for a war crimes investigation of Russia and Syria. In a press conference with his French counterpart, he said, "Russia and the [Assad] regime owe the world more than an explanation about why they keep hitting hospitals and medical facilities, and children and women," The New York Times reports. 

The Russian defense ministry recently warned that if U.S. planes struck Syrian government targets, they could be targeted by Russian anti-aircraft missiles, which has the Pentagon concerned. "The Russians said their primary goal was to fight [extremist groups, like] ISIL and Nusra, in Syria," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook says. "Neither one has an air force. So I would question just what the purpose of this system is." 

Syria isn't the only arena where U.S.-Russia tensions are mounting. Washington has accused the Kremlin of cyber attacks aimed at disrupting the U.S. election, CNN reports. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that a range of proportional responses was being considered.

Responding to the allegations, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "There was a whole hysteria about that being of interest to Russia, but there is nothing within the interest of Russia."

Lavrov told CNN's Christiane Amanpour, "It's flattering, of course, to get this kind of attention." 

Politico reports that Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the USSR, told Russian state media, "The world has come to a dangerous point. ... Current Russian-U.S. relations are escalated, tense. There was a collapse of mutual trust. I would not like to give specific advice, but I want to say it is necessary to stop. It is necessary to resume the dialogue. Its abandoning was the gravest mistake."

Sources: The Independent, Reuters, The New York Times, CNN, Politico / Photo credit: vitalie cojocari/Flickr

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