Russia urges Turkey to ‘refrain from actions’ which could escalate tensions in Syria

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Russia urged Turkey to “refrain” from launching an offensive operation in Northern Syria to avoid “provoking an additional escalation of tensions” in the country, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced launching a military campaign targeting Kurdish “terrorists”.

“We received with alarm reports of such a forceful operation. Such a step, in the absence of the consent of the legitimate government of Syria, would constitute a direct violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, and would provoke an additional escalation of tension in this country,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

She added: “We hope that Ankara will refrain from actions that could lead to a dangerous deterioration of the already difficult situation in Syria.”

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Erdogan had announced that Turkey will launch a cross-border operation against the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara considers a terrorist group linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) – an outlawed Kurdish group which has led an insurgency against Turkey and created a conflict that has killed tens of thousands.

However, the YPG forms the core of the US-led forces in the fight against the extremist ISIS group.

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