Moscow Believes Turkey Not Creating Buffer Zone in North Syria Amid Al-Bab Op

© REUTERS / Khalil AshawiTurkish military vehicles drive in the Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, as they head towards the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria January 9, 2017
Turkish military vehicles drive in the Syrian rebel-held town of al-Rai, as they head towards the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, Syria January 9, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Moscow believes Turkey is not currently creating a buffer zone in northern Syria, a senior Russian diplomat told Sputnik.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The comment comes as the Turkish military operation in Syria's Al-Bab has entered the final stage. Turkey's units entered central Al-Bab, the operation is being conducted in coordination with Russia to prevent clashes with Syrian government forces.

"Now, as far as we understand, they are not creating a buffer zone in northern Syria," the Russian Foreign Ministry's Fourth European Department Director Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko said.

"Ankara, just as us, speaks in favor of preserving the territorial integrity of the country and inadmissibility of its partition," he said.

Turkish army tanks make their way towards the Syrian border town of Jarablus, Syria August 24, 2016. Picture taken August 24, 2016. - Sputnik International
Turkey 'Has Own Specific Tasks in Syria' - Russian Diplomat
Turkey is currently conducting an operation in Syria dubbed Euphrates Shield. On August 24, Turkish forces, supported by Free Syrian Army rebels and US-led coalition aircraft, began a military operation dubbed the Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area from Daesh terrorist group. As Jarabulus was retaken, the joint forces of Ankara, the coalition and Syrian rebels continued the operation to gain control over Al-Bab in the Aleppo province.

Moreover, Russian and Turkish military jets have repeatedly jointly bombed Daesh targets near Al-Bab in Syria.

Al-Bab is one of Daesh’s last remaining strongholds near the Turkish border. Capturing the city is of strategic importance to Turkey in order to prevent the Syrian Kurds taking it and unifying their own territories.

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