Russia warns actions that could stall peace process in Syria
Iran Press TV
Tue Oct 8, 2019 09:16PM
Russia's Security Council has warned against actions that could endanger the peace process in Syria, after Turkey's Defense Ministry said Ankara was ready for a military operation against Kurdish militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) to push them away from border areas.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the consultative body of President Vladimir Putin discussed on Tuesday the creation of a constitutional committee in Syria, and "remarked that at this stage everyone should avoid any actions that can inhibit the peace process" in the war-ravaged Arab country.
Earlier in the day, Peskov said Russia "is following very closely how the situation is developing," and that Moscow was not informed about the withdrawal of the United States from the region.
"We still don't know which troops are being withdrawn, in what amount, and whether they are being withdrawn at all.
"There have been various announcements about withdrawals from different parts of the world which later were not confirmed," the senior Russian official said.
On Monday, Peskov said Russia's position, recently announced by Putin, is that Syria's territorial integrity must be preserved and all foreign troops illegally present in the country must leave.
The Kremlin spokesman then commented on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statement that Ankara is prepared for a cross-border offensive, emphasizing Russia's call for refraining from actions that may hamper settlement of the Syria crisis.
"In this case, it is important to refrain from any actions that may create obstacles on the path of Syrian settlement. We know that certain perspectives are opening up and we understand that it will be a long and thorny path. And now that the Syrian Constitutional Committee has been formed and when the date for its meetings has been appointed, it is vital to refrain from any steps that may harm Syrian settlement," he said.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement on Sunday that Washington had begun withdrawing US troops from Syria's border with Turkey, adding that the American forces "will not support or be involved in the (Turkish) operation" and "will no longer be in the immediate area."
US President Donald Trump on Monday defended the decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, saying it was too costly to keep supporting its allies.
"The Kurds fought with us but were paid massive amounts of money and equipment to do so. They have been fighting Turkey for decades," he said in a series of tweets.
Erdogan said on the same day that the Turkish army was ready to launch operations against militants of the People's Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), at any moment.
"There is a phrase that we always say: we can come any night without warning," the Turkish president told reporters in televised remarks. "It is absolutely out of the question for us to further tolerate the threats from these terrorist groups."
SDF later warned that a Turkish military invasion would spark a major resurgence of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, and vowed to battle Turkey's military.
Turkey beefs up military presence near Syrian border
Meanwhile, Turkey on Tuesday sent more armored vehicles to the border with Syria amid threats to stage an incursion against Syrian Kurdish-led forces.
A large convoy of vehicle was seen passing by near the ethnic Arab town of Akcakale in Turkey's southeastern province of Sanliurfa.
Turkey's official Anadolu news agency reported that different types of construction equipment were also part of the convoy.
Ankara views the YPG as the Syria branch of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
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