Russia urges appraisal of Turkey shelling of Syria
Iran Press TV
Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:13PM
Russia has called on international human rights organizations to appraise Turkish artillery shelling inside the Syria territory, denouncing as illegal Ankara's military campaign in the crisis-hit Arab country.
Russia's Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov made the request in a statement released on Wednesday.
'Near-border settlements are shelled form large caliber artillery weapons from Turkish territory.… We request Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Doctors Without Borders and other organizations to give their official assessment to these criminal actions of the Turkish armed forces,' Konashenkov said.
Over the past few days, Turkey has been shelling the positions of fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the northern parts of Syria.
Ankara regards the YPG and PYD as allies of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been fighting for an autonomous Kurdish region inside Turkey since the 1980s.
Elsewhere in his comments, the Russian official noted a recently brokered ceasefire agreement in Syria does not include Daesh, Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, adding that Moscow will continue its anti-terror airstrikes there "as usual."
On Monday, Russia and the US said the truce has been planned to take effect in Syria on February 27.
Russia launched its campaign against terrorists in Syria last September upon a request from the Damascus government. The air raids have expedited the advances of Syrian forces against militants.
Furthermore, Konashenkov stressed that Moscow has begun taking steps towards cessation of hostilities in Syria and expects a similar approach from Washington.
"We have started specific and complicated practical work towards the peace settlement in the Syrian Arab Republic. We expect that our American colleagues start taking specific steps instead of talking as soon as possible," he said.
The Russian Defense Ministry announced on Wednesday that it has started ceasefire negotiations with opposition groups in the Syrian provinces of Hama, Homs, Latakia, Damascus and Dara'a.
The announcement came one day after Moscow opened a coordination center at its Hmeymim airbase in Latakia in an attempt to facilitate talks between Damascus and different opposing parties.
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