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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkey 'Has Own Specific Tasks in Syria' - Russian Diplomat

Sputnik News

18:49 08.02.2017(updated 19:32 08.02.2017)

Moscow believes that it would be wrong to say that Turkey does not have its own specific tasks in Syria, a senior Russian diplomat told Sputnik Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The diplomat said that Ankara's position on Syria has not become similar to Russia's and many differences in countries' approaches still exist.

"I do not want to say that Turkey suddenly changed its position on the Syrian settlement, and it became completely identical to the Russian one. We still have many differences," the Russian diplomat said.

"Yes, there is a joint fight against Daesh and al-Nusra [Front]. Of course, it would be wrong to say that the Turks do not have their own, specific tasks in Syria related to their understanding of the situation," the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department Director Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said.

"We do not forget about differences, but it is important to discuss them," Botsan-Kharchenko said.

"In the Russia-Turkey dialogue, the topic [of Assad's future] is not an obstacle for the development of cooperation in the Syrian affairs," Botsan-Kharchenko said.

The comment comes amid a nationwide ceasefire in Syria backed by Russia and Turkey which came into effect on December 30 and was later supported by a UN Security Council resolution. Moreover, Russian and Turkish military jets have repeatedly jointly bombed Daesh targets near Al-Bab in Syria.

Turkey is currently conducting an operation in Syria dubbed Euphrates Shield. On August 24, Turkish forces, supported by Free Syrian Army rebels and US-led coalition aircraft, began a military operation dubbed the Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh terrorist group. As Jarabulus was retaken, the joint forces of Ankara, the coalition and Syrian rebels continued the operation to gain control over Al-Bab in the Aleppo province.

Al-Bab is one of Daesh's last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border. Capturing the city is of strategic importance to Turkey in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds taking it and unifying their own territories.


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