Russia condemned as “unacceptable” on Tuesday Turkey’s military operation in northeastern Syria, revealing that Ankara’s offensive was not cleared by Moscow in advance.
“We had always urged Turkey to show restraint and always considered some kind of military operation on Syrian territory unacceptable,” said Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s envoy for Syria, told Russian news agencies.
He made his comments after Turkey ignored new sanctions from the United States to press on with its assault on northern Syria while the Russia-backed Syrian regime forces entered one of the most hotly contested cities, filling a void created by US President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to pull out American troops.
Lavrentiev’s comments, which suggest growing tensions between Turkey and Russian, came a day after the Kremlin complained that Turkey’s incursion was “not exactly” compatible with Syrian territorial integrity.
“The security of the Turkish-Syrian border must be ensured by the deployment of Syrian government troops along its entire length,” said Lavrentiev. “That’s why we never spoke in favor or supported the idea of Turkish units (being deployed there) let alone the armed Syrian opposition.”
Lavrentiev confirmed that Russia had brokered an agreement between the Syrian regime and Kurdish forces that saw the Kurds cede control of territory to Syrian troops.
Those talks had taken place at Russia’s Hmeimim air base in Syria among other places, he said.
Moreover, he said Moscow will not allow Turkish and Syrian regime forces to clash.
He said that "no one is interested" in potential fighting between regime troops and Turkish forces that entered Syria last week. Lavrentiev said Russia "is not going to allow it."