Russia: Turkey’s Incursion Worsened Syria Crisis

Russia: Turkey’s Incursion Worsened Syria Crisis
Wed Sep 7, 2016 19:34:29

Russia has voiced deep concerns over the advances made by Turkish troops in Syrian territory, warning that such actions could make the conflict gripping the Arab country more complicated.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued the warning in a statement released on Wednesday.

The ministry expressed worries about the incursion of Turkish soldiers and pro-Ankara Syria militants deeper into Syrian soil, saying, "This calls into question the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Such advances, which are being made without coordination with the Damascus authorities and without the approval of the United Nations Security Council, "could further complicate the military and political situation in Syria, which is dire as it is," the statement read.

It further called on the Ankara government to “refrain” from any steps that could destabilize Syria.

The Turkish military backed by planes from the US-led coalition launched an offensive in Syria on August 24. Damascus denounced the intervention as a breach of its sovereignty.

The picture taken in the Turkish town of Karkamis on September 1, 2016 shows smoke rising close to the Syrian town of Jarablus. ©AFP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the operation, dubbed "Euphrates Shield," was aimed at “terror groups” such as Daesh and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a US-backed Kurdish group based in Syria.

Hours after the beginning of the offensive, Turkish-backed militants seized the Syrian town of Jarablus. They are also expected to continue the action in order to establish a safe zone in the 98-kilometer (61-mile) area stretching from Jarablus to the city of A'zaz.

Since March 2011, Syria has been gripped by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies.

Russia and Turkey have been supporting the opposite sides to the crisis in Syria.

UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

S/SH 11

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