Russia hopes that Turkey will “prevent” an attack on northern Syria, a diplomatic spokesman said Thursday, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan renewed threats of military action targeting Kurdish “terrorists.”
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement that “we hope that Ankara will refrain from any action that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria.”
“In the absence of an agreement with the legitimate government of the Syrian Arab Republic, such a move would be a direct violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said, adding that “tensions in Syria will escalate.”
On Wednesday, Erdogan renewed threats of military action in northern Syria.
“We are taking another step to establish a 30-kilometer security zone along our southern border. We will clear Tal Rifat and Manbij,” he said, referring to two northern Syrian cities.
Erdogan said they would then move forward “step by step, to other regions.”
For a week now, Turkish leaders have been threatening to crack down on Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighters.
He is also targeting the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), a Syrian-Kurdish group that he considers part of the PKK.
“We understand Turkey’s concerns about the national security threat posed by the border with Syria,” Zakharova said, adding that the problem could only be resolved if Syrian troops were deployed in the region.
Russia and Turkey, allies of the Damascus government, have agreed to withdraw Kurdish forces from Syrian territory near the Turkish border and begin joint patrols under the terms of the 2019 agreement.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken on Wednesday warned NATO ally Turkey against military action in Syria, saying it would put the region at risk.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)