Bringing us that much closer to a clash with Russian forces:
The Russian military says a U.S. strike on government-backed troops in eastern Syria reflects Washington's efforts to make a grab for the nation's economic assets. The overnight attack, which killed about 100 according to a U.S. military, came when hundreds of attackers launched an assault on U.S.-backed forces known as the Syrian Democratic Forces who were accompanied by U.S. advisers in the oil-rich Deir el-Zour province.
The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday the U.S. strike wounded 25 pro-government Syrian volunteers. It noted that the government-backed Syrian forces had failed to coordinate their action with the Russian military prior to launching the mission.
On the plus side, that last sentence is a tacit admission by the Russians those Syrian troops made a mistake in attacking a group with U.S. advisors in it. But that's not much of a plus. It still leaves two wildly different conclusions that could be drawn, neither of them good: a) The Russians are not exerting a level of control over Syrian forces that might prevent catastrophe, or b) They are lying about that prior coordination and maybe even engineered the attack knowing there were Americans present. You might be tempted to dismiss that second possibility because of its recklessness, but take it from an old Cold Warrior: Russian strategy can be very complex. They might view the deaths of a handful of American military advisors as the best way to get the U.S. *out* of that theater of conflict, especially if it appears to be an unfortunate "accident." And filed under the category, "Sounds great but may be dangerous as hell":
Turkish officials say the leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran will meet in Istanbul to discuss peace efforts for Syria. The officials said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to the summit during a telephone call on Thursday.
It was not immediately clear when the Istanbul meeting would take place.
The Turkish officials said two leaders also agreed that efforts to create "observation posts" in Syria's Idlib province as part of a "de-escalation" agreement between Turkey, Russia and Iran should gain momentum.
Those SDF forces (with American advisors) who were attacked by Syrian government elements are Kurdish, and sworn enemies of the Erdogan regime in Turkey. Turkey has already invaded parts of Syria to go after the SDF, and if Putin and Erdogan sit down and decide to pool their efforts, those U.S. advisors could find themselves and their Kurdish allies facing powerful enemies on two fronts.
And just to add to the absurdity of the situation, Turkey is still a member of NATO. Oh, and we're storing about 50 aircraft-delivered nukes in Turkey, just in case you weren't already chewing on your fingernails...