Turkey's prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu. File photo
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ISTANBUL – Turkey’s prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused Moscow of conducting “ethnic cleansing” in Syria, stressing that Russia has been trying to expel Turkmen and Sunni Muslim people from their areas in northern Syria in a bid to maintain its military interests in the region.
“Russia is trying to make ethnic cleansing in northern Latakia to force (out) all Turkmen and Sunni population who do not have good relations with the regime,” Davutoglu said on Wednesday during a press conference in Istanbul.
“They want to expel them, they want to ethnically cleanse this area so that the regime (of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) and Russian bases in Latakia and Tartus are protected,” he added.
Turkey’s PM pointed out that Russia’s recent bombardment in Azaz area in northwestern Syria was aimed at cutting supply lines of anti-Assad rebels.
Davutoglu’s statement comes amid intensifying disputes between Moscow and Ankara subsequent to the downing of a Russian jet by Turkey on the Syrian border.
Reporting by: Dawood Hassan