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Russian defense ministry says it never discussed operation in Syria’s Kobani with Turkey

MOSCOW, October 14. /TASS/. Russia’s defense ministry has refuted media reports that Russia has no objections against Turkey’s extension of the Peace Spring operation into the Syrian city of Kobani. This matter has never been discussed with Turkey, it said on Monday.

"During talks with the Turkish colleagues, issues of extending the Turkish army’s operation Peace Spring into the Syrian city of Kobani were not discussed. Media reports on this topic are not true," the ministry stressed.

Ankara said earlier that Russian Chief of the General Staff Valery Gersimov had spoken over the phone with his Turkish counterpart, Yasar Guler. According to the Turkish side, Gerasimov and Guler spoke about security problems in Syria. Nothing however was said about the operation near Kobani. Ankara also said that the two countries defense ministers, Sergei Shoigu of Russia and Hulusi Akar of Turkey, had had talks on "ccordination of joint activities."

Addressing a news conference in Istanbul, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Russia had taken the idea of Turkey’s liberation of the city of Kobani in northern Syria from Kurdish units quite positively. He promised that Turkey’s army would grant safe entry to the city of Manbij, controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, for soldiers of the so-called Free Syrian Army.

On October 9, Ankara launched an offensive in north Syria dubbed Operation Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on Kurdish units. The objective is to establish a safety zone in northern Syria for protection of the Turkish border. In addition, Syrian refugees could return to that area from Turkey, Ankara believes. Syria’s SANA news agency slammed Ankara’s operation as an act of aggression. The world community has condemned Ankara’s actions.