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The situation around Syria

Embassy of the Russian Federation Share:
The Turkish forces are seen in Tal Abyad in northern Syria, Oct. 18, 2019. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey expects the Kurdish militia to leave within 120 hours the safe zone to be established by Ankara in northern Syria. "But we will see what will be the case in practice," he added, noting that Turkish forces will not withdraw from the region as part of the deal reached with the United States on Thursday in capital Ankara. (Xinhua)

On 17th of October the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova issued the statements regarding the situation around Syria at briefing:

 

Update on northeastern Syria

In recent days, a major escalation of tension has taken place east of the Euphrates River, an area which is not controlled by Damascus. On October 9-10, the Turkish armed forces launched Operation Peace Spring in the vicinity of the Syria-Turkey border. The Turkish army units entered Syria and launched an assault on border towns and villages. They are carrying out air and artillery attacks on Kurdish targets in northeastern Syria. According to reports, people were killed and wounded on both sides. Also reported are casualties among civilians, many of whom were forced to leave their homes and move deeper into Syria.

In addition, the terrorists took advantage of the surge of tension and activated their sleeper cells. In this regard, the level of guarding ISIS prisoners in prisons located south of the Euphrates River and their families in IDP camps, including the 70,000-strong Al-Hawl, is of great concern. After all, they pose a threat not only to Syria, but other countries of the region and beyond as well.

With this in mind, we urge all parties on the ground to exercise restraint and carefully consider their actions in order to prevent a further escalation of tension. We are convinced that achieving sustainable and long-term stabilisation and security in this region of Syria, that country and the region in general is possible only on the basis of restoring its sovereignty and territorial integrity. This means the ultimate transfer of all national territories, including the border with Turkey, under control of the legitimate Syrian Government. In this regard, we can only welcome Damascus and the Kurds reaching the appropriate agreements.

However, we remain convinced that the escalation of tension in northeastern Syria should not stop us from continuing and even upscaling efforts to advance the political process in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. We are making energetic efforts in cooperation with the Syrian stakeholders, our Astana format partners and in coordination with the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Syria Geir Pedersen to prepare for convening the Constitutional Committee in Geneva in late October. Please note that Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov spoke in detail on this account today. We consider the launch of the Constitutional Committee and its productive work an extremely important step forward which will allow us to start a direct dialogue between the Syrians, in particular, to discuss in detail the future of their country, as was decided by the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. We believe that everything is ready for the first meeting of the committee, and all candidates have been invited and are preparing to come to Geneva.

I would like to point out the assessments of the situation which were made by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov yesterday during a news conference in Sochi. The transcript is posted on the Foreign Ministry’s official website.

 

On the same date Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova answered to media questions the situation around Syria:

Question: Yesterday, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov explained Russia’s position on the Turkish operation. He mentioned the 1998 Adana Agreement. How can this Agreement be applied in this case?

Maria Zakharova: I can once again highlight the statement made by Sergey Lavrov. He said Russia strongly advocates resolving the current situation through a dialogue between the Government in Damascus and the Kurdish forces. As you know, this dialogue has begun and is already yielding certain results. He also emphasised that Russia has always recognised Turkey’s legitimate interests in the security of its borders. At the same time, we stand for practical cooperation between Damascus and Ankara on the basis of the 1998 Adana Agreement. We absolutely clearly see the possibilities for this. The two countries’ military officials should determine the specific aspects of their interaction on the ground. Russia, for its part, is ready to assist them in such a dialogue.

 

Embassy of the Russian Federation

 

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