ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish Foreign Minister summoned Russia's charge d'affairs in Ankara on Thursday to explain Russian military's activities with Kurdish forces in Syria.
A spokesperson for Ankara told reporters that the ministry relayed Turkey's "grave concern" regarding some photographs that appeared on social media showing Russian soldiers celebrating Newroz with Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Russia currently is not represented at an ambassadorial level in Ankara since the late 2016 assassination of its ambassador Andrei Karlov by an off-duty Turkish police officer in response to Russian bombardment of Syrian rebel-held areas.
"Our attitude toward PYD/YPG is well known by the Russian side. These pictures have disturbed us," said the spokesperson according to the state-funded Anadolu Agency.
Democratic Union Party (PYD) is the parental political organization of the US-backed YPG that rules Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
Turkey calls the PYD and its armed wing "terrorists" for close military and ideological ties with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has been waging a decades-long warfare against Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights.
In the pictures released, Russian soldiers were seen wearing YPG insignias on their arms and waving the group's red-starred flags with posters of PKK's co-founder and leader Abdullah Ocalan who has been serving a life sentence in a Turkish prison since his capture in 1999.
Unlike Turkey's NATO allies, such as major EU countries and the US, Russia does not consider the PKK a terrorist group.
YPG, on the other hand, has become Washington's most trusted ally in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.
Another topic Ankara expressed objection about was PYD's diplomatic office in Moscow which Turkey wanted Russian authorities to shut down.
Turkey also held Russia responsible for any attack on its border posts originating from Kurdish-held areas in northwestern Syria.
On Wednesday, a Turkish soldier was killed allegedly by fire from the Kurdish canton of Afrin whose village, in turn, came under Turkish shelling that wounded ten civilians.
Russia recently made a show of force in Afrin with flag-mounted tanks and a number of soldiers on patrol alongside Kurdish fighters.
With the US and Russia standing firmly behind the YPG, Turkey's military options in northern Syria have further diminished.
Editing by Ava Homa