No disagreements with Russia over Syria operation: Turkish FM

No disagreements with Russia over Syria operation: Turkish FM

"We do not have any disagreements with Russia. We continue our contacts with Russia," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with TGRT Haber, when asked about possible tensions with Moscow over Afrin.

(AhlulBayt News Agency) - Turkey and Russia have no disagreements over Ankara's air and ground offensive into northern Syria's Afrin region and the two countries are in close contact over the operation, the Turkish foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch" two weeks ago targeting the YPG Kurdish militia in Afrin. Russia is the main backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

"We do not have any disagreements with Russia. We continue our contacts with Russia," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in an interview with TGRT Haber, when asked about possible tensions with Moscow over Afrin.

"We need to inform each other in a timely manner, especially (regarding) air strikes and the developments in the field. We contact them in real time or in advance."

He also said Turkish forces had finished building a sixth observation point in Syria's Idlib region.

Shortly after the operation was launched, Moscow voiced concern about the Turkish attacks, calling on the sides to exercise restraint. The Russian Foreign Ministry also said the country’s troops had been withdrawn from the operation zone to “prevent potential” provocation.

Turkey views those militants as terrorists linked to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting for independence for decades.

The ‘Operation Olive Branch’ is currently focused on the Afrin region, but Turkey has said it could extend to the nearby Kurdish-controlled city of Manbij and beyond.

Ankara has warned the US to halt its support for the militants of the so-called Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) or risk confronting Turkish forces on the ground in Syria.

Syria has slammed both Turkish and American military activities in the Arab country as a violation of its sovereignty, repeatedly calling on both actors to leave its soil.

Iran has also voiced opposition to the Turkish military operation in Syria, with President Hassan Rouhani saying on Tuesday that Ankara does not “have the permission of the [Syrian] government…and the consent of the people” for such an offensive.

Elsewhere, Cavusoglu also said Turkish forces had finished building a sixth observation point in Syria’s northwestern Idlib Province as part of an agreement with the other two guarantors of the Syria ceasefire, Iran and Russia.

Early last year, Turkey, which has been backing anti-Damascus militants, as well as Russia and Iran, which side with the Syrian government, began moderating talks between the government and opposition in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

The talks led to the demarcation of four de-escalation zones across the Arab country, which has been fighting foreign-backed militancy since 2011.

Idlib houses one of the zones. Turkey has agreed to set up 12 observation posts in Idlib and neighboring provinces.



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