Russia raises concerns after Turkey suggests resuming Syria offensive

MOSCOW (dpa)- Russia expressed concern on Tuesday about Turkey's suggestion that it could resume an offensive in north-eastern Syria, near the Turkish border.
Such action could "raise tensions in Syria's north instead of easing them in accordance with a joint memorandum signed by the presidents of Russia and Turkey," the Russian Defence Ministry said in comments carried by state news agency TASS.

Russia and Turkey, which have supported opposing sides in the Syrian civil war, agreed last month to share control over a portion of northern Syria in an effort to halt a Turkish invasion and enable Kurdish militias to vacate the area.
Turkey had launched the invasion to push away from its border Kurdish militias that it considers terrorists. Turkey's ally the United States and Russia both clinched ceasefire deals to stop the offensive.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in parliament on Tuesday that neither Russia nor the United States has managed to "completely clear" the border zone of "terrorists."
"Our struggle will continue until terrorist threats, particularly from Syria and northern Iraq, are completely removed, until the last terrorist is neutralized," Erdogan said.
He alleged that Syrian Kurdish militias have continued to target Turkish forces in north-eastern Syria.
Turkey's top diplomat, Mevlut Cavusoglu, suggested in comments carried the previous day by state news agency Anadolu that Turkey could resume the invasion.
"If we fail to get a result, we will do what is necessary, just like when we launched the operation after we tried with the US," Cavusoglu said.
Russia's Defence Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, focused on those comments when raising concerns.
Russia was "surprised to hear ... Cavusoglu's statement about Russia's alleged failure to fulfil its promises, as well as his threats about an operation in northern Syria," Konashenkov said.

Wednesday, November 20th 2019

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