We believe Russia won't interfere with Turkish op. in Syria: Cavusoglu
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reveals that Turkey believes Russia will not interfere in its operations in Northern Syria.
Turkey believes Russia would not interfere with the operation of Turkish offensive forces in northern Syria, although tensions persist, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Earlier, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said Ankara was ready to begin a new military offensive in northern Syria at any time.
Damascus has consistently condemned the presence of the Turkish forces in Syria's border area, where they conduct operations against Kurdish groups, and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops.
"No, I don't think that Russia will interfere. We have disagreements with Russia on many issues, including actions in Ukraine, non-recognition of Crimea, etc.
"But we have economic and political relations," Cavusoglu said in an interview with the NTV broadcaster. Turkey did not receive any sharp reaction or protest from Russia, he said.
"The United States and Russia did not keep their word given to Turkey on terrorists in Syria, so we will have to resolve the issue ourselves. On the other hand, the United States and Russia do not have the right to speak about the planned operation of the Turkish Armed Forces, they did not keep their word," Cavusoglu said.
Russia opposes Turkey operation in Syria
Russia is opposed to Turkey's plans to hold a military offensive in northern Syria, the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reported last month.
Moscow has spoken out against Turkey's operation in the Raqqa province, as the strategic M4 Highway passes through the area. Russia's criticism, alongside discussions between Ankara and Moscow, prompted Turkey to drop the preparations for an operation in the area, while Russia bolstered its military presence there, Hurriyet said.
Regardless, the newspaper - without citing any source - reported that Turkey's cross-border offensive into Syria may kick off later this week, with Ankara continuing to amass troops near the border and into the Tell Rifaat and Manbij region.
The Russian statement came after the Turkish President renewed threats that he would target Kurdish fighters that he described as "terrorists", and added that he is pushing forward with a military offensive in two areas in northern Syria.
"We are taking another step in establishing a 30-kilometer security zone along our southern border. We will clean up Tell Rifaat and Manbij", he said.
Erdogan's stance against the Kurdish fighters has also soured relations with Finland and Sweden, who have not yet received Turkey's approval to join the Atlantic Alliance because they refused to brand the PKK as a terrorist group. Erdogan is currently trying to pressure both countries into branding the PKK as terrorists in exchange for their accession to NATO.
Syrian army shoots down Turkish UAV
Recently, Turkish occupation forces in Syria targeted the position of the Syrian army with rockets and artillery. According to Syrian news sources, Turkish forces attempted again to target a Syrian army checkpoint in the north of Aleppo, but the Syrian army downed a Turkish drone that intended to target the checkpoint.
In light of reports over an operation in northern Syria, the Syrian People's Assembly stressed Damascus' "right to use all means to confront the occupation and its terrorist mercenary tools."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on May 23 that the Turkish army intends to carry out military operations to "combat terrorism" at the Turkish state borders, explaining that his government "will start taking new steps to complete the safe zone 30 km north of Syria."
On June 14, Turkish media reported that Ankara's troops have assumed combat formation and are all set to start Turkey's fifth military operation on the northern Syrian border, which it claims is aimed at the Kurdistan Workers' Party and what it considers as its military wing, the YPG.