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Russia says Turkey’s military action in Syria would be 'unacceptable'

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) and his Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, are seen at a press conference in Moscow on August 23, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has lambasted Turkey’s declared plans to launch a new military campaign in northern Syria, stressing that an escalation of military actions in the war-ravaged Arab country would be "unacceptable.”

Lavrov made the remark at a press conference alongside his visiting Syrian counterpart, Faisal Mekdad, in the Russian capital of Moscow on Tuesday as he censured any foreign interference in Syria’s internal affairs.

Underlining the necessity of finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis, Lavrov said Russia and Syria were looking to negotiate with Turkey to "prevent the outbreak of new military actions" in the Arab country.

“Russia is working for a rapprochement between Syria and Turkey… on the basis of United Nations resolutions that affirm the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” the top Russian diplomat said.

“With regard to the situation in northern Syria, the main thing is to prevent the outbreak of new military actions and the need to negotiate through diplomatic channels on the basis of the existing political principles in relations between Syria and Turkey,” he added.

Mekdad, for his part, warned that the Turkish military should withdraw its forces from the Syrian territory, abandon support for terrorist organizations and stop interfering in Syria’s domestic affairs.

The remarks come against the backdrop of Ankara’s stepped-up threats to launch a massive military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria to establish what it calls a “secure line” along Turkey’s border with the Arab country.

On August 8, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again hinted at a plan for a cross-border operation in Syria to remove members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militant group.

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 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.

Russia slams Israeli missile attacks against Syria

During the press conference, Lavrov also condemned the Israeli regime’s shelling of the Syrian territory and expressed Russia’s concern over the attacks on the Arab country’s infrastructure.

"We strongly condemned the dangerous practice of Israeli strikes on Syrian territory," the Russian foreign minister said. "We demand that Israel respect the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council and, above all, respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria."

Last Sunday, the Syrian military said three servicemen had been killed as the Arab country’s air defenses confronted “hostile” Israeli targets over the city of Tartus and the nearby mountain range of Qalamoun.

Lebanese media outlets said the attack had been carried out by Israeli warplanes from the Lebanese airspace. The Israeli regime’s Channel 12 confirmed that the aggression had been perpetrated by the regime’s assault aircraft.

Syria and the Israeli regime are technically at war due to the latter’s 1967-to-present occupation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

Israel maintains a significant military presence in the territory, which it uses as one of its launchpads for attacks against the Syrian soil.

The regime's attacks on Syria started to grow significantly in scale and frequency after 2011, when Syria found itself in the grip of rampant foreign-backed militancy and terrorism.

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