Russia voiced concern on Wednesday about the movement of Turkish troops and Syrian opposition forces deeper into Syria’s territory and warned that it could further aggravate situation in Syria.
“We call on Ankara to refrain from any steps that could further destabilize the situation in Syria,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
Underlining that Turkey’s actions have been taken without the consent of the Syrian government or the approval of the UN Security Council, the ministry said in its statement: “Therefore, these moves have raised doubts about the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. The stance of Damascus on this issue has been fair and right in terms of international law,” as reported by the Sputnik news website.
Moscow’s statement came at the same time that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would be ready to join any initiative proposed by the United States to capture the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stronghold in Syria.
According to remarks published in Turkish media on Wednesday, Erdoğan said US President Barack Obama raised the idea of joint action with Turkey to capture Raqqa during talks between the two leaders on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China.
As part of progress on the ground, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) supported by the Turkish military and allies took control of six more villages from the ISIL in northern Syria.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Erdoğan discussed the Syrian crisis on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China on Sept. 4.
Erdogan said Monday he had proposed to both the US and Russia the setting up of a no-fly zone in northern Syria.
“We are working for this region to be declared a no-fly zone,” Erdoğan said at the G20 meeting, referring to the land extending from Jarabulus to Azaz in northern Syria seized from ISIL.
Turkey launched an operation, called Euphrates Shield, inside Syria on Aug. 24, sending tanks and special forces in to back opposition fighters.