Sochi deal provides stability in Syria: Russian FM
The Sochi agreement Ankara and Moscow hammered provides stability for the region, Russian foreign minister has said.
"Turkey has expressed its security concerns for a long time. Russia attaches importance to Turkey's concerns about its national security," Sergey Lavrov said.
The minister's remarks came in Rome at a news conference on the Mediterranean.
Lavrov also said the Turkish operation was aimed at eliminating YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, reached a deal Oct. 22 in Russia's Black Sea resort town of Sochi under which YPG/PKK terrorists would pull back 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Turkey’s border with Syria within 150 hours, and security forces from Turkey and Russia will mount joint patrols there.
The U.S. reliance on the terrorist group in the anti-ISIL fight in northern Syria has angered Ankara and strained relations between the two NATO allies.
The U.S.-backed SDF, a group dominated by the YPG, has been controlling some 28 percent of the Syrian territories, including most of the 911-kilometer-long Syria-Turkey border.
Turkey deems the YPG the Syrian offshoot of the illegal PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization also by the United States and the EU.
"The implementation of the Sochi agreement stabilizes Syria," Lavrov said.
He also criticized the fall of then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 as an intervention that sabotaged the stability in the region.
“The country is divided. The conflicts still continue in the country,” he said.