WORLD Turkey rejects Russia's call for dialogue with Syria over Afrin issue

WORLD

Turkey rejects Russia's call for dialogue with Syria over Afrin issue

Xinhua

06:21, February 22, 2018

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Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin rejected on Wednesday the possibility of any political dialogue between Ankara and Damascus, which is suggested by Russia.

The intelligence agencies of Turkey and Syria are in contact when it is necessary, while "high-level political dialogue between Ankara and Damascus is out of the question," Kalin said at a press conference in Ankara when responding to a question about Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov's recent suggestion.

Lavrov on Tuesday called on Ankara to open direct talks with Damascus to resolve Afrin issue.

"Turkey's legitimate security interests may be realized and satisfied through direct dialogue with the Syrian government", Lavrov was quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency as saying.

According to Presidential spokesman, Turkey has conveyed indirect messages to Syria via Russia and Iran within the scope of the Astana meetings.

On the same day, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy also told reporters that there is no political dialogue between Turkey and Syria, answering a question if there had been any dialogue with Damascus over the Syrian regime sending Shia fighters to Afrin.

"There may be intelligence contact," he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, pro-regime groups reportedly tried to enter Afrin region to support the People's Protection Units (YPG) against Turkey's ongoing military operation.

The groups were forced to withdraw after warning shooting by Turkey's army, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG militias from Syria's Afrin. Ankara sees YPG to be the Syrian affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a terrorist organization listed by Turkey, the United States, and the EU.


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