Russia urges Turkey to refrain from actions in northeast Syria
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on Thursday urged Ankara to refrain from actions that could “lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria.”
She said that "such a move, in the absence of the agreement of the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic, would be a direct violation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity,'' the Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported.
She underlined that an intervention would "cause a further escalation of tensions in Syria."
Nevertheless, she said Russia understands “Turkey's concerns about threats to national security emanating from the border regions.”
Zakharova stressed that this problem can only be solved by deploying Syrian government troops, however.
In October 2019, Syrian government forces entered Tal Tamr and other towns under a Russia-backed agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), following a Turkish offensive in the area.
Turkey has since then threatened to "clean up" Syria's Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas.
Read More: Turkey ready to attack Tal Rifaat and Manbij: Erdogan
Russia's state news agency, TASS, reported that a Russian delegation, led by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, will soon visit Turkey. The delegation includes military officials.
Middle Eastern and African countries, as well as Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, told TASS that there is no reason to speculate on a possible Turkish operation yet.
“We need to find out first. There will be contacts with Turkish colleagues. Therefore, we must wait. There is a lot of speculation now, but I think there's no point in speculating," Bogdanov said.
"There are relevant mechanisms, and I mean the Astana format, where the Syrians and guarantors (Russia, Iran, and Turkey) take part. I think that all issues related to ensuring a ceasefire, the settlement of all issues in accordance with those agreements that have been reached before, should be discussed within their framework," he concluded.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that six Russian helicopters flew over areas controlled by Kurdish and Syrian government forces in northern Aleppo on Thursday.