MOSCOW (AFP): The Kremlin on Friday called on Turkey not to “destabilize” Syria with a military offensive ahead of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Turkey has legitimate concerns for security reasons, which we, of course, take into account,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“It is very important not to allow any action that could lead to destabilization of the situation in Syria, or that could jeopardize the territorial and political integrity of Syria,” he added.
Putin and Erdogan are due to hold talks later on Friday in Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi. Peskov said that Syria will be on the agenda.
The Turkish president has for several months threatened to launch an operation against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria.
At a summit in Teheran last month, Putin expressed Russia’s opposition to Erdogan’s planned offensive.
Russia and Turkey are two major international players in Syria, a country torn apart by war since 2011, in which Moscow backed Damascus and Ankara the opposition groups.
During their meeting on Friday, the two leaders will also discuss Ukraine, where Moscow has been conducting what it calls a special military operation since February.
Turkey helped orchestrate a deal to resume Ukrainian grain shipments across the Black Sea following a blockade caused by the military action.