Turkey has no plan for military incursion in Syria: Official
Iran Press TV
Fri Feb 5, 2016 11:39AM
A Turkish official denies secret preparations for a military intervention in Syria, saying Ankara has no plan for such an "incursion" in the Arab state.
"Turkey does not have any plans or thoughts of staging a military campaign or ground incursion in Syria," a senior Turkish government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Friday.
The official, instead, accused Moscow of increasing its military campaign in Syria.
"Turkey is part of a coalition, is working with its allies, and will continue to do so. As we have repeatedly said, Turkey will not act unilaterally," the official added.
The remarks came after Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Moscow registered "a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish Armed Forces for active actions on the territory of Syria."
"We are recording more and more signs of concealed preparations by the Turkish military," he added.
Moscow and Ankara have been at loggerheads over developments in Syria since a foreign-backed militancy erupted in the Arab country nearly five years ago.
Turkey seeks the overthrow of the Syrian government while Russia has been supporting Damascus in the fight against terrorism.
On Friday, the commander of a US-supported militant group said the northern countryside of Aleppo province was completely encircled by Syrian government forces and its allies.
Syrian government troops broke through militant defenses to reach two villages in northern Aleppo province on Wednesday, choking their supply lines from Turkey to Aleppo city.
Hassan Haj Ali, the head of the Liwa Suqour al-Jabal that has received US military training in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, said the aerial bombardment continued.
'The Russian cover continues night and day, there were more than 250 airstrikes on this area in one day,' he told Reuters.
Syrian forces are now trying to expand the area they taken control of, he said. 'Now the northern countryside (of Aleppo province) is totally encircled.'
Hezbollah's Al Manar television said government forces and allied fighters had taken over the town of Ratyan, which lies close to areas they captured on Wednesday.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the capture of Ratyan.
The US, Turkey and their other allies have stepped up their calls on Russia to stop its airstrikes amid militant losses.
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