Sun, 02 Apr 2023

Moscow's envoy has asked Ankara to avoid using excessive force

Ankara should try to refrain from using "excessive" force in its military strikes on targets in Syria to avoid escalating the situation further, a top Russian official said on Tuesday.

Alexander Lavrentyev, the Russian president's special envoy on Syria, asked Türkiye to "show restraint in order to prevent an escalation of tensions, not only in the northern and northeastern regions of Syria, but throughout the entire territory," according to RIA news agency.

He stressed the importance of finding a peaceful solution to the "Kurdish issue" and stated that Russia was willing to work with all interested parties. "We hope to convince our Turkish partners to refrain from using excessive force on Syrian territory," he added.

The Russian envoy also noted that the "illegal" presence of US troops in Syria was significantly hindering stability in the region. He suggested that if Washington's military contingent were to withdraw from the northeastern part of the country, it would help to calm the situation.

Laverentyev's comments came after Turkish warplanes carried out a series of strikes destroying 89 targets in Syria and Iraq on Sunday, which were reportedly linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the YPG. Ankara considers these groups to be terrorist organizations and blames them for the November 13 bomb attack in Istanbul, which claimed the lives of six people and wounded 81 more.

On Monday, the Turkish military announced that its artillery would also join so-called 'Operation Claw-Sword' after Kurdish militants reportedly shelled the southeastern Turkish city of Karkamis, killing three civilians. On Sunday, a Turkish border checkpoint in the southeastern Kilis Province also reportedly came under rocket artillery fire, wounding eight Turkish security personnel.

Türkiye claims to have "neutralized" some 184 "terrorists" so far. The Kurdish Rojava Information Center reported 11 dead and nine injured civilians, along with three Kurdish fighters and "heavy casualties" among the Syrian Arab Army.

Aram Hanna, a spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), has accused Türkiye of "war crimes" and said its air force had carried out "double-tap" strikes, targeting rescue workers arriving at the site of the initial attack.

While Ankara's operation has yet to see Turkish troops cross the Syrian or Iraqi borders, Erdogan has stated that 'Claw-Sword' would not be limited to just airstrikes.


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