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Kremlin calls for refraining from steps that may hamper Syrian settlement

There were no discussions of Ankara’s planned operation in Syria between Russian and Turkish leaders, according to the Kremlin spokesman

MOSCOW, October 7. /TASS/. The Kremlin calls for refraining from actions that may hamper Syrian settlement, Russian president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov said on Monday commenting on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s statement that Ankara is gearing up for an operation in northeastern Syria.

"In this case, it is important to refrain from any actions that may create obstacles on the path of Syrian settlement. We know that certain perspectives are opening up and we understand that it will be a long and thorny path. And now that the Syrian Constitutional Committee has been formed and when the date for its meetings has been appointed, it is vital to refrain from any steps that may harm Syrian settlement," he said.

Meanwhile the Kremlin expects that in its preparations for an operation in northeastern Syria Turkey will proceed from the postulate that the territorial and political integrity of that country must be preserved.

"The Kremlin knows Turkey is committed to the postulate of Syria’s territorial and political integrity, to the understanding that Syria’s territorial integrity is the point of departure — both in the course of efforts to achieve a settlement in Syria and in all other matters. We hope that our Turkish counterparts will first and foremost adhere to this postulate in all situations," Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the media.

At the same time Moscow agrees that "Turkey may take action to ensure its security." "It means resistance to terrorist elements that may be hiding in Syria. But first and foremost we say that the territorial and political integrity of Syria must be observed," Peskov added.

Peskov answered in the negative when asked if Putin and Erdogan had touched upon the issue, adding that the two leaders hadn’t discussed Ankara’s plans to carry out a military operation in northeastern Syria. "However, you know that Russian and Turkish militaries and intelligence agencies maintain close contact," Peskov pointed out.

When asked to comment on US President Donald Trump’s statement concerning Turkey’s plans, Peskov said that "it’s not for us to decide what this signal is about." "Russia’s position, recently announced by President Putin, is that all foreign troops illegally present in Syria must leave the country," the Kremlin spokesman emphasized.

Elaborating on the subject, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed it was too early to say how the US troop pullout from northeastern Syria announced by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would influence the peace settlement process. He called for waiting for Washington’s official statements on this score.

"How can Erdogan say anything about the United States’ pullout? You see, statements by officials in Washington must enjoy priority here. Conclusions are to be made on the basis of these official statements," Peskov said.

On Monday, October 7, Erdogan said the United States had begun to withdraw its forces from northeastern Syria, where Ankara was going to establish a security zone. Erdogan recalled his recent promise to suddenly enter Syria for conducting a new operation. On October 5, Erdogan reported on television that preparations for an operation in northeastern Syria were underway. He did not rule out that military operations, including air strikes against Kurdish forces, which Ankara regards as terrorist, might begin within days.