November 30, 2022

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Conflict in Syria: Russia calls on Turkey to avoid “use of excessive force”

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LRussia said on Tuesday it hoped Turkey would maintain “control” and avoid “excessive use of force” in Syria, where Ankara has carried out airstrikes and threatened a ground offensive against Kurdish fighters.

“We trust our Turkish counterparts to refrain from using excessive force on Syrian territory to avoid escalating tensions,” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the press, Alexander Lavrentiev, told reporters.

Turkey’s air force launched Operation Sword Claw on Sunday, a series of strikes targeting PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and YPG (People’s Protection Units) positions in northern Iraq and Syria. According to a report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), 37 people were killed in these attacks.

“For months (…) Russia has done everything possible to prevent a large-scale ground operation,” Lavrentiev said in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana, where a tripartite meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran on Syria is being held.

All three countries have played a major role in the war in Syria, which has claimed nearly half a million lives since 2011. Mr. Lavrentiev called for “continuing work with all stakeholders to find a peaceful solution, including the Kurdish issue.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been threatening to launch a new military operation in northern Syria since May, and an attack in Istanbul on November 13, immediately attributed to the PKK and YPG by Ankara, precipitated events.

“We will make those who disturb us in our territory pay,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, adding that “consultations” were underway to determine “how much force to deploy by our ground forces.”

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