Russia warns Turkey, Syria over tensions near border
A Free Syrian Army fighter points his weapon during clashes with forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo’s al-Amereya district. REUTERS photo
Russia has urged restraint between Turkey and Syria so as to avoid possible cross-border conflicts while telling world powers that they should not seek ways to intervene in the Syrian war.
Both Syrian and Turkish authorities “should exercise maximum restraint” since radical members of the Syrian opposition might deliberately provoke cross-border conflicts for their own benefits, Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said yesterday. The diplomat said Moscow has been worrying about the situation on the Syria-Turkey border. Ankara has repeatedly complained of artillery and gunfire spilling over its border and last week signaled it would take action if there was a repeat of a mortar strike on its territory from inside Syria. Turkey has sent a diplomatic note to Syria over the mortar bomb that hit the southeastern province of Akçakale on Sept. 28.
Syrian conflicts has been overflowing across the national border and became a destabilizing factor for many neighboring countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, Gatilov said. NATO and world powers should not seek ways to intervene in the Syrian war or set up buffer zones between rebels and government forces, he said.
“In our contacts with partners in NATO and in the region, we are calling on them not to seek pretexts for carrying out a military scenario or to introduce initiatives such as humanitarian corridors or buffer zones,” Gatilov said. Russia stands for a political and diplomatic solution to the Syria issue and opposes outside military intervention under the pretext of civilians protection or the alleged presence of non-existing weapons of mass destruction, the deputy foreign minister said. In addition, “bomb diplomacy” has never achieved its desired results, but only aggravated security situation in the region, he said.
Meanwhile, Turkish troops killed two members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) near Mardin’s Kızıltepe district after they have tried to infiltrate Turkey, a statement from the Mardin governorship said. One militant was wounded, it said. According to activists in Syria, Turkish troops fired across the Syrian border killing a member of a Kurdish militia and wounding two others in the first such fatal shooting at the Turkish frontier. “The three Kurds, members of a Kurdish militia hostile to the Damascus regime but also wary of the rebellion, were patrolling the border in (Syria’s) Hasaka province when they were hit by Turkish army fire from the other side,” Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman told Agence France-Presse.