Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters during a rally for the upcoming referendum, in Izmir, Turkey, April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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Turkish calls for tough action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after U.S. missile strikes on one of his airbases may overestimate Washington's appetite for deeper involvement in Syria's war and threaten Ankara's fragile rapprochement with Russia.The first direct U.S. assault on Syria's government in six years of war appeared to vindicate Erdogan's long-standing calls for Assad's overthrow.Assad remains in power despite Turkey's long-standing determination to see him ousted, Kurdish militia fighters it sees as a hostile force are making gains with U.S. support, and Turkey has been increasingly targeted by Islamic State jihadists from across the border.That stance sets Turkey at direct odds with Russia less than four months after the two powers brokered a ceasefire in Syria and peace talks in the Kazakh capital Astana.Can Acun, a researcher at the SETA think-tank in Ankara, said Russia and Turkey had been moving apart over Syria for some time, pointing to Moscow's readiness to work with Kurdish militia fighters in Syria and its failure to prevent ceasefire violations by Assad's forces.Erdogan has said Turkey, which hosts warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition in its southern Incirlik airbase, would be ready to support further U.S. action in Syria.
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