12:16 GMT +321 August 2019
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan arrive for a joint news conference following their meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 10, 2016

    Inappropriate to Speculate on Erdogan Statement's Effect on Moscow-Ankara Ties

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    It is inappropriate to speculate on whether Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's recent statements on Syrian President Bashar Assad could affect the Moscow-Ankara relations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Erdogan said Tuesday the Turkish armed forces' military operation in Syria is designed to put an end to the rule of Assad.

    "No, principled and hypothetical speculations are inappropriate here," Peskov said when asked if Erdogan's statements could affect bilateral relations.

    "The statement was new. So before making any judgments, we hope this position will be explained," he said, adding that the statement was very serious.

    Peskov said Erdogan’s announcement on Assad, which had not been voiced in phone talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ran counter to Russia's understanding of the situation.

    He added that Russia is the only country whose forces are in Syria legally.

    On August 24, Turkish forces, backed by US-led coalition aircraft, began a military operation dubbed the Euphrates Shield to clear the Syrian border town of Jarabulus and the surrounding area of the Islamic State terrorist organization. As Jarabulus was recaptured, the joint forces of Ankara, the coalition and Syrian opposition groups continued the offensive southwest.

    The operation has been widely criticized both by the Syrian Kurds and Damascus, who have accused Ankara of violating Syria's territorial integrity.

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    Tags:
    military operation, Turkish Armed Forces, Bashar al-Assad, Dmitry Peskov, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, Russia
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