UNITED NATIONS, January 19. /TASS/. Reports on the withdrawal of Russian military observers from Syria’s Afrin have been refuted, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters at a news conference on Friday.
"These reports were later refuted," he said answering a question about the reliability of the Turkish media reports, which asserted that Russia is withdrawing its observers from the city of Afrin.
The Anadolu news agency earlier reported that Russian military servicemen are leaving Syria’s Afrin in connection with Turkey’s plans to launch an operation against the Kurds. Al-Mayadeen TV channel refuted this report citing its sources in Syria’s law enforcement agencies. According to the TV network, the Russian military servicemen, along with their Iranian counterparts, remain in this inhabited community in northern Syria.
Earlier on Friday, Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said that Turkey’s operation in Syria’s Afrin district had begun de facto. He noted though that the Turkish troops had not entered Afrin yet. On Tuesday, the Turkish armed forces deployed at least ten tanks to the border with Syria. According to the Haberturk TV channel, mobilization is underway in the border area.
aid answering a question about the reliability of the Turkish media reports, which asserted that Russia is withdrawing its observers from the city of Afrin.