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Kremlin calls on Turkey to keep it calm in northern Syria ahead of Putin-Erdogan summit

Soldiers stand near a Turkish armored vehicle during the first American-Turkish joint patrol in the so-called safe zone on the Syrian side of the border with Turkey near Tal Abyad, Syria, September 8, 2019. (File photo by AP)

The Kremlin's spokesman has called on Turkey not to carry out a military offensive in northern Syrian regions, saying such an action will be destabilizing.

Dmitry Peskov's remarks came ahead of a Friday summit between President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Turkey has legitimate concerns for security reasons, which we, of course, take into account," Peskov told reporters.  

Peskov said it was imperative not to take any "action that could lead to destabilization of the situation in Syria." The Russian spokesman said in case of a military offensive in the region, "the territorial and political integrity of Syria" will be in danger.

He said Syria is one of the issues on the agenda of the summit, set to be held later on Friday in Sochi.

Turkey has for several months threatened to launch a fresh military operation against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria. Ankara's intention has been met with opposition from Tehran and Moscow.

On the sidelines of a summit in Tehran last month, Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei received Erdogan, telling him any Turkish offensive in Syria would be “detrimental” to the Arab country, Turkey itself, and the entire region. The Leader urged dialog between Ankara, Damascus, Moscow, and Tehran.

Earlier in July, Erdogan said Ankara's plan for a new military offensive in northeast Syria against members of the YPG will remain on the agenda until security concerns are addressed.

On May 23, the Turkish leader signaled a new cross-border operation in northern Syria with the declared aim of creating a 30-kilometer (18.6-mile) wide safe zone along Turkey’s border with Syria. He did not provide further details but said the operation would be launched as soon as military, intelligence, and security forces have completed preparations.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push YPG fighters away from border areas.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to Turkey's ongoing ground offensive.

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