Russia voices “concern” over Turkey’s military operation in Syria, pulls troops

Russia voiced concern and called restraint over Turkey’s military operation northwestern Syrian enclave of Afrin, and responded by withdrawing its troops from the region.

“Moscow is concerned at this news. We call on the opposing parties to show restraint,” the foreign ministry said in a statement quoted by AFP.

The operation also drawn US warnings, AFP said.

The Russian defence ministry said its troops were withdrawing from the area “to prevent potential provocation and exclude the threat to the life and wellbeing of Russian military,” and said it is “attentively monitoring the development of the situation,” according to AFP.

Turkish army on Saturday launched airstrikes and announced ground operation joined by rebel Syrian forces, Free Syrian Army (FSA), around Afrin.

The region was under the control of Syrian Kurdish militia, People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be a terror organisation, and as a threat to its southern border.