Russia says Turkish strikes against Syria’s Kurds may hinder war on ISIS

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Turkish fighter jets. File photo

ARA News

Turkey’s airstrikes overnight to April 25 on areas of Iraq and Syria along the border trigger most serious concerns in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

“As the Turkish side declares, the strikes targeted positions of armed units of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Democratic Forces linked to Democratic Union Party,” the ministry said.

“Such moves trigger most serious concern in Moscow. We are talking about actions by Turkish military against Kurdish forces that really stand against terrorist groups, first of all Islamic State, on the ground,” the Russian foreign ministry said.

“In conditions when completion of a war against terrorism in Iraq and Syria is still a long way off, such actions definitely discourage consolidation of anti-terrorist efforts, escalating the already tense situation.”

“The fact that Turkish airstrikes were conducted on the territory of sovereign states in bypass of their legitimate governments cannot but cause concern. We consider these actions inadmissible, running counter to the founding principles of inter-state relations,” the ministry said.

“In this situation we urge all parties to restraint. It is necessary to demonstrate due political foresight and focus attention on a most important for today task – countering international terrorism represented by Islamic State, (Jabhat al) Nusra and other affiliated groups,” it added.

Timur Akhmetov, a Russian analyst on the Middle East, told ARA News: “Russia’s main concern in regard to the recent airstrikes is that Turkey is demonstrating willingness to act in Syria and Iraq outside the established framework of controlled competition.”

“The fact that airstrikes were carried out without close coordination with the US command may suggest that Turkey wanted to use an element of unpredictability as a bargaining tool,” Akhmetov said.

“Currently Russia’s best interest is to keep the conflict within the established rules. Every party to the conflict has an acknowledged right to uphold its national security. But any serious military action should not be sudden for other major parties, because a rise of unpredictability may trigger escalation among the warring parties and undermine negotiation process,” Akhmetov told ARA News.

“On the other hand, Russia may seek to score political points among the Syrian Kurds by criticizing Turkish airstrikes,” he concluded.

Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News

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