Russia tells Turkey new military action in Syria would be 'unacceptable'
In the light of Turkey's preparations for a new operation in northern Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned that new military actions in the country are "unacceptable." Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has refuted the allegations that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would meet with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Uzbekistan in September.
Reuters - Duvar English
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Aug. 23 that an escalation of military action in Syria would be "unacceptable," in comments aimed at persuading Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to row back talk of a new campaign in northern Syria.
Speaking in Moscow at a press conference alongside his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, Lavrov said Russia and Syria were looking to negotiate with Turkey to "prevent any new military action."
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has refuted the allegations that Erdoğan would meet with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad might hold a meeting on the sidelines of the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit (SCO) in Uzbekistan.
"It is not true; there is no such thing. And Assad has not been invited there," Çavuşoğlu told local broadcaster Haber Global on Aug. 23.
Çavuşoğlu also said that Turkey has set no preconditions for talks with Syria, in an apparent bid to improve ties suspended since the start of the war in Syria in 2011.
“There cannot be a condition for dialogue, but what is the aim of these contacts? The country needs to be cleared of terrorists … People need to be able to return,” he said.
He said any dialogue needs to be “goal-oriented.”
Çavuşoğlu said two weeks ago that the Syrian opposition and government must be brought together for reconciliation, and Erdoğan said diplomatic relations could never be fully cut.
After visiting Russia, which has strongly backed Assad, Erdoğan said President Vladimir Putin had suggested that Turkey cooperate with the Syrian government along their joint border, where Erdoğan is planning a further military incursion against Syrian Kurdish fighters he says pose a security threat.
Turkey, which has carried out four military operations in northern Syria since 2016, says it is creating a safe zone where some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees it is currently hosting could return.