Russians officials urged Turkey to limit the duration and scale of its cross-border military incursion into northeast Syria, stressing Turkish troops must at all costs avoid clashing with Syrian government forces, which have moved north and are racing to take over Kurdish border towns ahead of the Turks.
The Kremlin’s special envoy to Syria Tuesday appeared to toughen Russia’s language about the offensive, dubbing it for the first time as “unacceptable.” Previously the Kremlin appeared to endorse the incursion, with top aides to Russian President Vladimir Putin saying Russia would go along with Turkey as it acknowledged Ankara had legitimate border security concerns.
But Russian officials had from the start detailed red lines — including that the offensive wouldn’t lead to any permanent Turkish occupation.
Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi during an official visit by Putin to the Gulf emirate, Russian envoy Alexander Lavrentiev indicated Moscow expects Ankara to wrap up its offensive quickly. He said Turkish troops had the right under an agreement struck between Damascus and Ankara in 1998, the Adana pact, to temporarily push up to a maximum of 10 kilometers into Syria to conduct counter-terrorism operations.
“But it doesn't give them the right to remain on Syrian territory permanently and we are opposed to Turkish troops staying on Syrian territory permanently,” he emphasized. “We don't approve of their actions,” he added.
Source: Voice of America.