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Potential Russia-US conflict in Syria will set Middle East on fire, Turkey warns

April 11, 2018, 14:23 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Turkish defense minister comments on a potential conflict between Russia and the United States in Syria

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Turkish National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli

Turkish National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli

© AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici

MOSCOW, April 11. /TASS/. A potential conflict between Russia and the United States in Syria may turn the tide in the entire Middle East region, Turkish National Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli told 24TV television on Wednesday.

"If an attack occurs against the forces [in Syria] backed by Russia or there is an attack by the US-supported forces, Russia won’t be able to stay away, otherwise it will lose its influence. So, serious clashes may start," the minister said, noting that this threat has existed for a long time and will be relevant in the future.

"Just one spark may set the entire region on fire and open the door for the conflict. So, we are calling on the parties [Russia and the US] to act with restraint and on the regime [of Bashar Assad] to stop supporting terrorist organizations," Canikli said.

Tensions mounted amid the alleged April 7 chemical attack in Douma, in Eastern Ghouta. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the report as fake news, and representatives of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Warring Parties visited Douma on April 9, but did not find any traces of chemical weapons there.

The United States is deploying to the Mediterranean Sea a strike group of US warships, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman. The strike group also includes the USS Normandy guided-missile cruiser and four guided-missile destroyers.

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he would decide on whether to respond militarily in the wake of the alleged chemical attack in Syria within the next 24-48 hours.

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