Russia and the US are calling for de-escalation amid Turkey’s cross-border raids on Kurdish strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has launched a cross-border air raid in what they said was a location used by Kurdish groups who accused Turkish forces of bombing central Istanbul in northern Syria. and hinted at the possibility of a ground attack in Iraq.
Rising tensions have sparked global concern, with Russia and the US urging Turkey on Monday to show restraint.
Erdogan told reporters on a flight home from Qatar after attending the World Cup opening ceremony that Turkey’s ongoing military operations in northern Syria and northern Iraq “are not limited to just air operations.” , said it could involve ground forces.
“The competent authorities, the Ministry of Defense and the Chief of Staff will work together to determine the level of force that ground forces should use,” he said. “We will consult and take action accordingly.”
A week after a bomb exploded on Istanbul’s Istiklal Avenue, killing six and injuring 81, the Turkish operation – dubbed Claw Sword – began on Sunday.
Ankara blamed Syrian Kurdish groups associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Group (PKK) for the November 13 attacks, although Kurdish fighters denied involvement.
Turkey’s defense ministry said the Claw Sword, which includes land-launched weapons, killed 184 fighters and destroyed 89 targets, including shelters, bunkers, caves and tunnels.
Meanwhile, state-run Anadolu news agency said rockets had been fired from Syrian territory, and two people were reportedly killed on Monday when a projectile struck the Turkish border district of Karkhamis.
The United States, which relied primarily on Kurdish militia forces to defeat ISIL (ISIS) groups in Syria, called for de-escalation.
“The United States expresses its deepest condolences for the loss of civilian lives in Syria and Turkey,” said State Department spokesman Ned Price, in a statement.
“We urge de-escalation in Syria to protect civilian livelihoods and support our common goal of defeating ISIS. We will continue to oppose military action.”
Russia also urged Turkey to refrain from using “excessive” military force.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, told reporters that Turkey had not notified Moscow in advance of the attacks on neighboring countries.
Speaking in the Kazakhstan capital, which is hosting a tripartite meeting of Russia, Turkey and Iran on Syria, Lavrentiev hoped to “persuade his Turkish colleagues to refrain from resorting to excessive force on Syrian territory.” said he was.
“Russia has been doing everything possible to prevent … a large-scale ground operation for months,” he added.
For months, President Erdogan has threatened a new major military operation against PKK-affiliated forces in northern Syria, but Russia, Iran and many Western countries have warned against the plan. is emitting.
Turkey has previously conducted ground military operations in Syria that focused on areas beyond the border, occupying vast territories.
The Turkish government believes a so-called “safe zone” along the Syrian side of the border is necessary to allow the voluntary repatriation of the Syrian refugees it accepts. SDF) attacking Turkey.