Russia calls on Turkey to ‘restraint’ in air strikes in Syria

“We hope to persuade our Turkish colleagues to refrain from resorting to excessive use of force on Syrian soil,” in order to “avoid an escalation of tensions,” Alexander Lavrentiev, the special envoy of Russian President Vladimir Putin to the press, told the press.

On Sunday, the Turkish Air Force launched Operation Sword Claw, a series of raids targeting the positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Iraq and Syria.

According to the report of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 37 people lost their lives in these raids.

“For months, Russia (…) has done everything in its power to prevent any large-scale ground operation,” Lavrentiev said in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, where a tripartite meeting between Russia, Turkey and Iran on Syria will take place.

These three countries play a major role in the war in Syria, which has claimed nearly half a million lives since 2011.

He called on Mr. Lavrentiev to “continue to work with all stakeholders to find a peaceful solution, including the Kurdish issue.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had been threatening since May to launch a new military operation in northern Syria, and the November 13 attack in Istanbul, which Ankara immediately attributed to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and the People’s Protection Units, precipitated events.

“We will make those who disturb us on our lands pay the price,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, citing the ongoing “consultations” to decide “how much force our ground forces should share.”

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