Russia is asking Turkey not to launch a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, and Erdogan is determined to protect his country’s borders

Russia is asking Turkey not to launch a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, and Erdogan is determined to protect his country’s borders
Russia is asking Turkey not to launch a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, and Erdogan is determined to protect his country’s borders

Russia is asking Turkey not to launch a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, and Erdogan is determined to protect his country’s borders

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Russia has asked Turkey not to launch a full-scale ground offensive in Syria, Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentiev said Wednesday after meeting on Syria with delegations from Turkey and Iran in Kazakhstan. For his part, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday that his country would launch a ground operation there in due course, noting that air operations against a Kurdish armed group in northern Syria are just the beginning.

Russian negotiator Alexander Lavrentiev said on Wednesday that Russia had asked Turkey to refrain from an offensive ground attack extensively in Syria because such moves could lead to an escalation of violence.

After a new round of Syrian talks with delegations from Turkey and Iran in Kazakhstan, he added: “We hope that our talks reach Ankara and that there are other ways to resolve the crisis.”

Tailor-made Ankara

For his part, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed on Wednesday that Turkey’s air operations against a Kurdish armed group in northern Syria are just the beginning and that Turkey will launch a ground operation there in due course after retaliatory strikes escalate.

He stressed that Turkey is more determined than ever to secure its southern borders through a “security corridor” while ensuring the territorial integrity of both Syria and Iraq, where it also conducts operations against Kurdish militants.


Erdogan said in a speech to deputies of the ruling Justice and Development Party in parliament: “We will continue the air operation and use force to crush the terrorists from the ground at the most convenient time for us.” This is a source of unrest.”

On the other hand, the United States informed Turkey, its ally in NATO, of its serious fears that the escalation would affect the goal of fighting “Islamic State” fighters in Syria.

Turkey has previously launched major military operations in Syria against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it considers an offshoot of the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which is viewed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

For more: what do we know about the PKK and the roots of its conflict with Turkey?

Ankara launched air operations over the weekend and said it was in response to a bomb attack that killed six people in Istanbul a week ago. The Turkish authorities accuse the Kurdish People’s Defense Units of being behind it. Nobody claimed responsibility for the bombing, and the PKK and the People’s Defense Units denied any involvement in it.

Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said the army had hit 471 targets in Syria and Iraq since the start of the week, in what he described as Turkey’s largest airborne operation in recent years.

And his ministry said on Wednesday that he received briefings and instructions in a video conference late Tuesday with the chief of the general staff, the commander of the ground forces and the commanders of the border units.

It quoted him as saying that 254 militants were “neutralized” in the operation, a term meaning killed.

Continuous attacks in Syria

For their part, the Syrian Democratic Forces, led by the Kurdish People’s Defense Units, said that on the third day, Tuesday, the Turkish army attacked northern and eastern Syria with warplanes, drones and heavy artillery, and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and a school, were among the targets that have been hit.

The media center of the Syrian Democratic Forces reported that there were six airstrikes by warplanes and another six by drones on Tuesday, with about 500 artillery shells falling on the area. He had previously said that 15 civilians and militants had been killed in Turkish attacks in the past few days.

Notably, the United States has allied itself with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the war against the organization “Islamic State” in Syria, leading to a deep disagreement with Turkey.

Russia, Turkey and Iran, in a joint statement following the Kazakhstan talks, pledged to “oppose separatist plans aimed at undermining Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and damaging the national security of neighboring countries through things like cross-border attacks and to threaten intrusion”.

France 24/Reuters


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