MOSCOW, November 20. /TASS/. Turkey has assured Moscow that it does not call in question Russia’s efforts in Syria and is not going to resume its Peace Spring operation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on Wednesday.
Russia’s top diplomat commented on a statement by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu that the United States and Russia allegedly had not done everything to withdraw Kurdish forces from the Turkish-Syrian border.
"Yesterday, there was contact between members of the Turkish government and our ambassador, and they assured our envoy that this was a misunderstanding and that no one in Ankara called in question the work being done by Russia. Neither Mr. Cavusoglu, my colleague and friend nor Mr. [Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim] Kalin spoke about any resumption of the Peace Spring operation," Lavrov said.
Lavrov also noted that Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov on Tuesday made a statement outlining Russia’s position regarding particular facts in Syria. He said the Russian Defense Ministry was surprised to hear Cavusoglu’s statement.
"The withdrawal of armed units of the Kurdish forces has taken place," he stressed. "Even if some small areas still remain there, this effort will be brought to an end. And the fact that everything is fully in line with a memorandum backed by Presidents [Vladimir] Putin and [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, is confirmed by regular and ongoing joint patrols of a 10-km zone by Russia’s military police and Turkish counterparts as agreed in Sochi on October 22."
Russia’s top diplomat noted that the United States in Syria seeks to stonewall dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus. "We have a directly opposite stance and believe that only dialogue between the Kurds and Damascus could solve both problems with ensuring the Kurds’ rights and issues related to ensuring legal security rights of the Turkish Republic," the minister stressed.
According to Turkey’s Yeni Safak newspaper, Cavusoglu said on Monday that Ankara was ready to resume Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria in case the Kurdish-led People's Protection Units (YPG) failed to pull their fighters back from the Turkish-Syrian border. The Turkish foreign minister also accused Washington and Moscow of failing to take necessary steps within the agreements they had reached with Ankara.