Russia will urge Turkey to withdraw from Syria when ‘time is right,’ says envoy

Russian Presidential Special Envoy for Syria Alexander Lavrentyev said that Russia would urge that Turkish forces withdraw from the areas under their control in neighbouring Syria when the time is right, Russian Sputnik news reported.

The leaders of Turkey, Russia, Germany and France are set to meet in Istanbul in early September to discuss, among other topics, the situation in war-torn Syria, where Turkey has maintained a military operation since January of this year.

Noting that the area in Syria controlled by Turkish forces spans from Azez and Jarablus, the Russian envoy stressed that Turkey took on certain responsibilities in maintaining order in Idlib.

‘’We have always maintained that Turkish soldiers had to withdraw from the area after their operations and missions in the region are complete,’’ Lavrentyev said.

Turkey’s air and ground offensive in Syria, dubbed  “Operation Olive Branch,” is aimed at the YPG, Kurdish militias affiliated to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a group designated as a terrorist organisation that has been at war in Turkey for over three decades. The YPG form the backbone of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which have been at war against ISIS.
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