Russia is not going to turn a blind eye to Turkey’s new military operation in northern Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, Russia’s presidential envoy for Syria, said on Wednesday in the Kazakh capital Nur Sultan, where he met with government officials from Turkey, Iran and Syria as well as representatives of some Syrian opposition groups.
Russia will not turn a blind eye in exchange for Turkey maintaining its objection to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Lavrentyev said. “We are not bargaining. We are not giving up on our allies in the region.”
The envoy called the threatened operation in northern Syria “unwise”, and said it would lead to an escalation of tensions and a new military confrontation in the region.
According to Lavrentyev, Moscow no longer believes Geneva is suitable to hold peace talks among Syrians and the next round of the Syrian Constitutional Committee would need to meet in a new location.
Turkey’s pretext to launch aggression against Syria’s north is a flagrant violation of international law, and conflicts with the Astana talks, said Ayman Sousan, who heads the Syrian government’s Astana delegation.
Syria’s assistant foreign and expatriates minister added that the United Nations has to fulfil its responsibilities to curb Turkey’s aggression and the international community has to respond to the grave threat to the region’s stability and security.
The Astana peace process to end the conflict was launched in January 2017 as an initiative of Turkey, Russia and Iran.
On 15 and 16 June, Nur Sultan is hosting high-ranking negotiations between the guarantor states of the Astana process Russia, Turkey and Iran with participation from Syrian government representatives and opposition groups as well as the United Nations.