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Turkey hits new Syria offensive; Russia urges restraint

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ANKARA — Turkey’s president once more hinted at a attainable new floor offensive in Syria towards Kurdish militants on Tuesday, as Syrian forces denounced new airstrikes and Russia urged restraint and known as on Ankara to keep away from an escalation.

Russian presidential envoy in Syria Alexander Lavrentyev mentioned that Turkey ought to “show a certain restraint” so as to stop an escalation in Syria, the place tensions heightened over the weekend after Turkish airstrikes killed and wounded quite a lot of Syrian troopers.

Lavrentyev expressed hope that “it will be possible to convince our Turkish partners to refrain from excessive use of force on Syrian territory.”

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces later mentioned that recent Turkish airstrikes on Tuesday struck a base that the group shares with the U.S.-led coalition within the combat towards the Islamic State group. The bottom is positioned simply outdoors of the city of Qamishli, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Turkish border. Two SDF fighters have been killed and three have been wounded, the group mentioned.

Turkey carried out airstrikes on suspected Kurdish militant targets in northern Syria and Iraq over the weekend, in retaliation for a lethal Nov. 13 bombing in Istanbul that Ankara blames on the militant teams. The teams have denied involvement within the bombing.

The airstrikes additionally hit a number of Syrian military positions in three provinces alongside the border with Turkey, and killed and wounded quite a lot of Syrian troopers, Syrian officers mentioned.

“We will, of course, call on our Turkish colleagues to show a certain restraint in order to prevent an escalation of tension, and an escalation of tension not only in the north, but also in the entire territory of Syria,” Lavrentyev was quoted as saying by the Russian state information companies within the Kazakh capital, Astana, forward of talks on Syria.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has mentioned Turkey’s actions wouldn’t be restricted to aerial strikes, suggesting a attainable new incursion — a place he reiterated on Tuesday.

“We have been on top of the terrorists for the past few days with our planes, artillery and drones,” Erdogan mentioned: “Know that as soon as possible, we will root out all of them together with our tanks and soldiers.”

Erdogan continued: “From now on, there is only one measure for us. There is only one border. (And that is) the safety of our own country, our own citizens. It is our most legitimate right to go where this security is ensured.”

Turkey has launched three main incursions into northern Syria since 2016 and already controls some Syrian territory within the north.

Following the weekend’s airstrikes from Turkey, on Monday suspected Kurdish militants in Syria fired rockets throughout the border into Turkey, killing no less than two individuals and wounding 10 others, in response to Turkish officers.

Whereas Kurdish-led forces in Syria haven’t commented nor claimed accountability for the assaults, the SDF on Monday vowed to reply to Turkish airstrikes “effectively and efficiently at the right time and place.”

The Turkish warplanes attacked bases of the outlawed Kurdistan Staff’ Get together, or PKK, and the Syrian Individuals’s Safety Items, or YPG on Saturday evening and on Sunday. Turkish officers claimed that 89 targets have been destroyed and plenty of militants have been killed.

A Syria struggle monitoring group mentioned 35 individuals have been killed in airstrikes over the weekend — 18 Kurdish fighters, 16 Syrian authorities troopers and an area journalist.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Tuesday that Moscow views Turkey’s safety considerations “with understanding and respect” but additionally urges Ankara to “refrain from steps that could lead to a serious destabilization of the situation in general.”

“It can come back as a boomerang,” Peskov mentioned.

Additionally Tuesday, German Inside Minister Nancy Faeser reiterated throughout a joint information convention together with her Turkish counterpart that Berlin stands with Turkey within the combat towards terrorism, however mentioned Turkey’s response to assaults should be “proportionate” and aware of civilian populations.

Turkish Inside Minister Suleyman Soylu nevertheless, defended Turkey’s actions.

“They want to establish a terror state around us, we cannot allow that. It is our duty to protect our borders and our nation,” he mentioned.

“NATO rose up because a couple of bombs fell on Poland,” Soylu mentioned, complaining about what many Turks contemplate western insensitivities towards assaults perpetrated towards Turkey by Kurdish militants. He was referring to a missile strike in Polish farmland earlier this month that killed two individuals.

Turkey’s protection minister in the meantime, renewed a name for the USA and different nations to not again the Syrian Kurdish militia group, YPG, which Turkey regards as an extension of the PKK.

“We express at every level that ‘PKK equals YPG’ to all our interlocutors, especially the United States, and constantly demand that all support to terrorists be cut,” Hulusi Akar advised a parliamentary committee.

Ankara and Washington each contemplate the PKK a terror group, however disagree on the standing of the YPG. Below the banner of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the YPG has been allied with the U.S. within the combat towards the Islamic State group in Syria.

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AP reporters Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut and Dasha Litvinova in Tallinn, Estonia, contributed to this report.

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