Russia views Turkey ground operation plan in Syria premature step
Moscow views Ankara’s plans to carry out a ground operation in Syria as a premature step, Director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Fourth European Department Yury Pilipson says.

"The two countries’ General Staffs and intelligence agencies maintain close contact on Turkey’s plans to carry out a military operation in the Syrian Arab Republic. We understand that issues related to the protection of Turkey’s southern border are sensitive for our partners but we proceed from the need to strictly comply with the principles of the territorial integrity, independence and sovereignty of the Syrian state," the diplomat told TASS.

"On the whole, we view such an operation as a premature step because it may lead to a further rise in tensions, boosting separatist sentiment and fueling armed confrontation," Pilipson added.

He pointed out that the relevant ministries of Russia and Turkey maintained close contact on Syria. "It is well known that the Astana platform, the only effective one in terms of resolving the Syrian crisis, was launched through the efforts of Russia, Turkey and Iran," Pilipson emphasized.

Under the pretext of fighting the Kurdistan Workers' Paty (PKK), Turkey has deployed its troops in areas of northern Iraq and Syria and is conducting aerial attacks on parts of the northern areas of these countries. Ankara has received widespread criticism from both Iraqi and Kurdish authorities in Baghdad and Erbil as well as the international community for violating Iraqi sovereignty under the pretext of fighting the PKK.

Erdogan also signaled a ground operation into northern Iraq and northern Syria to eliminate the terror threat.

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