Russia calls for dialogue between Syrian and Turkish governments

Turkey has been criticized internationally for its military operation in northeastern Syria. (File photo: AP)

Russia called on Thursday for the start of dialogue between the Syrian and Turkish governments, according to an announcement made by the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, reported by the Russian news agency RIA.

Russia is a close ally of the Syrian regime under Bashar al-Assad.

Al-Assad’s other major ally Iran called on Thursday for an “immediate halt” to Turkey’s offensive, which is targeting territory controlled by Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northeastern Syria.

China also said on Thursday that Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity “must be respected.”

“China always believes that Syria’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity must be respected and upheld,” foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a regular press conference Thursday.

“We have noticed that all parties are generally worried about the possible consequences of Turkey’s military operation, and urged Turkey to exercise restraint,” Geng said.

The international community should work together to create conditions for a political settlement of the Syrian issue and “avoid adding new and complicated factors to the situation”, he added.

NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey on Wednesday to show “restraint”, while acknowledging that Ankara had “legitimate security concerns”.

US President Donald Trump on Wednesday called Turkey’s incursion into Syria a “bad idea.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:00 - GMT 07:00