Lavrov Affirms There Is No Threat of Renewed Turkish Military Action in Northern Syria
Nov. 20, 2019 (EIRNS)—Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported this morning that the government of Turkey has assured him that it will not resume military action in northern Syria. He was responding to a Nov. 18 statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in which he complained that neither the United States nor Russia have kept their promises to remove the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from within 30 km of the Syrian-Turkish border. Cavusoglu vowed that Turkey “will do whatever is necessary” to achieve that.
The initial response of the Russian Defense Ministry was one of consternation. “The Russian Defense Ministry was surprised to hear Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s statement about Russia’s alleged failure to fulfill its promises, as well as his threats about an operation in northern Syria,” spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said yesterday. “The Turkish top diplomat’s statement calling for military activities may raise tensions in Syria’s north instead of easing them in accordance with a joint memorandum signed by the presidents of Russia and Turkey.”
Lavrov reported this morning, however, that the Turks have assured him that they will not resume military operations.
“There was a contact between representatives of the Turkish government and our ambassador and they assured our envoy that this was a misunderstanding and that no one in Ankara called in question the work being done by Russia. Neither Mr. Cavusoglu, my colleague and friend, nor ... [Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim] Kalin spoke about any resumption of the Peace Spring operation,”
he said, reported TASS.
“The withdrawal of armed units of the Kurdish forces has taken place,” Lavrov stressed. “Even if some small areas still remain there, this effort will be brought to an end. And the fact that everything is fully in line with a memorandum backed by Presidents Putin and Erdogan, is confirmed by regular and ongoing joint patrols of a 10-km zone by Russia’s military police and Turkish counterparts as agreed in Sochi on Oct. 22.”