Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned that the Turkish military incursion into northeastern Syria could lead to the revival of the Daesh terrorist group in the region.
Vladimir Putin issued the warning in a televised address during a visit to Turkmenistan on Friday, saying that members of the Takfiri outfit held in northeast Syria could escape from jail as a result of the Turkish offensive.
“I’m not sure whether the Turkish army will be able to take this under control — and how soon,” Putin was quoted as saying by the Russia’s Interfax news agency. “This is a real threat to us.”
Russia calls on Turkey to show restraint
The Russian Foreign Ministry also called on Ankara on Friday to exercise restraint in northeast Syria, saying in a statement that it was important not to allow the situation there to be further destabilized.
Describing the issue as a matter “of the most serious concern,” the ministry called for talks between the Syrian government and the Kurdish militants, and said it was ready to help facilitate such dialogue even as Damascus has ruled out talks with separatists.
The plea came a day after Russia and the United States used their veto power at the United Nations Security Council to vote down a European statement against Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria.
Five European members — France, Germany, Belgium, Britain and Poland — had called the meeting to end the unilateral military action.
The US has long been providing the YPG and SDF militants with arms, calling them a key partner in the purported fight against the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in Syria. Many observers, however, see the support as part of Washington’s plans to carve out a foothold in the Arab country.
Erdogan said on Thursday that his country’s forces had already killed, injured or captured a total of 109 Kurdish forces. However, the SDF said the number was exaggerated.
The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is based in London, said at least 16 SDF militants had been killed and dozens more injured.
The International Rescue Committee aid organization said an estimated 70,000 people have fled their homes and the number could surpass 300,000 if the offensive were to continue at this rate.