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Russia urges Turkey not to launch another offensive in northern Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russia’s foreign ministry urges Turkey against launching another incursion into northern Syria under the pretext of fighting off, what the Turkish government calls, anti-Ankara “terrorists.”

“We hope that Ankara will refrain from actions that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Thursday.

“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” and would “cause a further escalation of tensions in Syria,” she added.

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that the country was to take yet “another step” to “clean up” the northern Syrian cities of Tal Rifat and Manbij. The Turkish forces would then fan out to other areas in the Arab country, the Turkish head of state added.

Zakharova said, “We understand Turkey’s concerns about threats to national security emanating from the border regions” with Syria. However, the concerns could also be alleviated if the Syrian military were to be deployed to the areas, she added.

Turkey has been conducting several incursions against neighboring Syria’s northern parts since 2016 to fight back against Kurdish militants known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara associates the YPG with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, which has been fighting a hugely-deadly separatist war against Turkey for decades.

So far, the Turkish state has deployed thousands of troops in the areas, in what Damascus has decried as, outright violation of its sovereignty.

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