Comments and statements by Foreign Ministry Spokesman

11 October 201913:17

Comment by the Information and Press department on the developments in north-eastern Syria

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Tensions on the Syrian-Turkish border have escalated to an alarming level in the past few days.

On October 9, after US troops pulled out of their strongholds in the border area, the Turkish armed forces entered the Syrian Arab Republic in the vicinity of Ras al-Ayn and Tal Abyad and moved on to a distance of 3-5 kilometres from the border. Artillery strikes and air raids have been directed at surface targets in the area. Casualties have been reported among the Kurdish armed groups and the Turkish military. Civilians have been killed and wounded; many civilians had to flee their homes and move deeper into Syrian territory.

We are seriously alarmed over the armed clashes in the border area and, in general, the escalation of tension and violence east of the Euphrates River. We consider it vital to prevent further destabilisation and the suffering of civilians in north-eastern Syria. In this connection we urge all the sides involved to show maximum restraint and to carefully consider their moves in the spirit of respect for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic.

We do not question the need to fight terrorists and to protect the security of Turkey, as well as all the other regional countries, from terrorist attacks. However, we believe that peace and stability in that part of Syria can only be ensured through a constructive dialogue based on respect between the government and the Kurds, who are an integral part of Syrian society. Moscow confirms its readiness to assist this dialogue, as well as any moves to normalise relations between the regional countries.

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