Russia condemns Turkish threat of new offensive in northeast Syria

Russia's Defence Ministry on Tuesday condemned a Turkish pledge to conduct a new military operation in northern Syria if Moscow fails to fulfil its commitments in the region, Reuters reported.

“The head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s call for military action can only escalate the situation in northern Syria rather than sort things out in the way set out in a joint memorandum signed by the presidents of Russia and Turkey,” Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the ministry, said in a statement.

According to an agreement reached with Turkey on Oct. 22, Russia must oversee the removal of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Syrian territories along Turkey’s southern border.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Monday signalled further action could be taken against Kurdish forces in northern Syria unless Russia and the United States fulfil their promises to ensure their withdrawal from the border region.

Turkey on Oct. 6 launched a military incursion in northeast Syria targeting the SDF and the YPG, which Ankara sees as a national security threat due to their links to outlawed groups that have waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey for Kurdish self-rule.

The operation came to a halt later in the month after Ankara reached the agreements with Moscow and Washington.