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Turks to Escalate Support for Radicals in Syria Amid Russian Withdrawal

© Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov / Go to the photo bankRussian Su-24 tactical bombers at the Hmeimim airbase in the Latakia Governorate of Syria
Russian Su-24 tactical bombers at the Hmeimim airbase in the Latakia Governorate of Syria - Sputnik International
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Russia’s decision to withdraw its air group from Syria may embolden Turkey to increase its support for extremist militant groups there, Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party representative to the United States, Mehmet Yuksel, told Sputnik on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of the main contingent of Russian forces from Syria after a six-month aerial operation against terrorists in the country, stating the troops had accomplished their mission.

"Withdrawal of the Russian forces in Syria… may encourage the Turkish government to have an upper hand in the region and prolong the war as the Turkish government's support for the radical groups may intensify even more," Yuksel stated.

Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) fighters carry their weapons while riding on the back of a pick-up truck in Qamishli, Syria, March 11, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Russia's active involvement in the war in Syria, Yuksel noted, made it more challenging for Turkey to enter into the country for fear of a possible war with Moscow, especially considering tensions have reached an all-time high.

The State Department in Washington, Monday, Dec. 15, 2014 - Sputnik International
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Last week, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Turkish shelling of Kurdish positions in northern Syria must stop to provide a more constructive atmosphere for a durable cease-fire.

Russian officials have previously accused the Turkish government of being in league with terrorist groups, including involvement in the oil smuggling operations of the Islamic State, otherwise known as Daesh.

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