Turkey’s Syria incursion a “dangerous challenge” – Russian Foreign Ministry

Turkey’s operation in Syria is a “dangerous challenge” for Syrian unity, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said at a briefing on Thursday, according to Russian news site Sputnik.

Turkey is currently conducting “Operation Olive Branch”, a military incursion into the northwest Syrian region of Afrin aimed at clearing the mostly-Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (PYD) and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which it regards as satellites of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a terrorist-designated group in Turkey.

The operation is the result of the U.S. strategy in Syria, and insistence in the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, that has resulted in a “delay with the restoration of the unity of Syrian society” that is “fraught with new dangerous challenges”.

Russia has supported Assad’s regime since civil war broke out in 2011, while the U.S. policy has been for his removal.

Zakharova answered questions from Kurdish journalists, who put it to her that Russia’s withdrawal of its observers from Afrin, which preceded the launch of Turkey’s operation, was a “betrayal” of the PYD.

“Yes, Turkey is a difficult partner However, despite the difficulties, Russia is constantly discussing the Kurdish problem with Turkey, and does its utmost to have Kurdish political forces involved in the settlement of the Syrian conflict,” the Azeri news agency APA quoted said Zakharova as saying.

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