Kremlin acknowledges Turkey’s ‘legitimate’ security concerns over Syria

The Kremlin said Friday that Turkey has legitimate security concerns about Syria and will take them into account as Turkish and Russian leaders are to meet in the coastal city of Sochi.

However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters it was important to avoid actions that could “jeopardize the territorial and political integrity of Syria”.

The meeting comes as Turkey pledged to launch a new operation in northern Syria to eliminate terrorism.

Erdoğan had said Turkey would launch new military operations in Syria to expand the 30-kilometre (20-mile) deep “safe zones” along the border, targeting Tal Rifaat and Manbij areas and other areas further afield. ballast.

Erdoğan said that since the United States and Russia have failed to meet their commitments to provide a safe zone along the border region, Turkey is ready to mount an operation to protect the nation and the people in the north of Syria against the terrorist group PKK and its Syrian branch, the YPG.

In October 2019, Russia pledged to withdraw the terror group from Tal Rifaat and Manbij after reaching an agreement with Turkey during Operation Peace Spring. Moscow also promised that terrorists would be pushed back 30 kilometers from the border on the M4 highway and to the area outside the Operation Peace Spring area.

The YPG/PKK mainly carries out terrorist attacks in Manbij, Ain al-Arab and the Tal Rifaat district of Aleppo, even using these areas as bases for its attacks. The YPG, which occupies about a third of Syrian territory with US support, frequently targets Azaz, Marea, al-Bab, Jarablus, Afrin, Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain in the north of the country with heavy weapons.

Turkish-backed operations in previous years have ousted the YPG/PKK from Afrin’s northwestern enclave and a series of border towns further east. Since 2016, Ankara has launched a trio of successful counter-terrorism operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terrorist corridor and allow the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch ( 2018) and Peace Spring (2019). ).

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