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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Turkey summons Russia envoy over Syria bombing 'very close' to border

Iran Press TV

Fri Nov 20, 2015 1:18PM

Turkey has summoned the Russian ambassador after Moscow's fighter jets allegedly carried out a heavy bombing raid inside Syrian territory 'very close' to the Turkish border.

Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov was summoned to the ministry to hear Turkey's concern over Russia's bombing of 'civilian Turkmen villages... very close to the border' with Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Turkey has asked Russia to 'immediately end its operation,' it added.

Turkish media reported on Thursday an escalation in Syria's ground attacks on militant positions in the Bayırbucak Turkmen area of the rural town of Latakia.

The state-run Anadolou agency said Syrian forces, backed by Russian fighter jets, launched "simultaneous attacks" on Firinlik, Acisi, and Avanli regions in the Turkmen mountain area near the border city of Kasab.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said that during the meeting with Karlov, "It was underlined that the Russian side's actions were bombing civilian Turkmen villages, but not fighting against terror and that this may lead to serious consequences."

Bilgic said that a telephone conversation has also been established with the Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov to convey a similar warning.

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also criticized the alleged attack on the Turkmens of Syria, saying they are the "ethnic kin of Turks."

"In recent days, there has been a much intensified attack against Syrian people, our Turkmen siblings, in the Bayırbucak neighborhood," Davutoglu told reporters as he became aware of the reported attack by the Russian fighter jets.

"We had contacts with Russia. First of all, we are against all kinds of attacks launched against civilian people. The second point, we are against all kinds of attacks that would lead to a new influx of refugees," Davutoglu said, according to the website of the Turkish daily Hurriyat.

Russia has yet to officially comment on the Turkish allegations.

The criticism comes just days before a trip to Turkey by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is scheduled to hold key meetings in Ankara about the situation in Syria.

Russian military aircraft have been targeting terrorist positions inside Syria since late September upon a request from the Damascus government. Moscow says its aerial campaign is aimed at helping the Arab country's armed forces in their battles against Takfiri terror groups.

The latest development comes as Russia has repeatedly rejected claims that its anti-terror air raids have targeted civilians in Syria.

In late October, the Russian Defense Ministry slammed as "outrageous" the claims that Moscow's air force was pounding civilian targets in Syria.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had earlier dismissed such claims as "information attacks," stressing that the reports of alleged civilian casualties caused by Moscow's air raids come while the so-called anti-Daesh coalition, led by the US, has been bombing Syrian territory over a year with no UN mandate or invitation from Damascus.

Ankara and Moscow have been at odds over the crisis in Syria, where the government blames Ankara of providing support to militants fighting to overthrow the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

This is not the first time that a war words breaks out between the two sides over Moscow's anti-terror military campaign in Syria. Last month, Turkey said Russian fighter jets involved in the military campaign in Syria had violated Turkey airspace.

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