Video PlayerClose ANKARA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Turkey has established a safe zone 145 km in length and 30 km in depth in northern Syria, but Ankara and Moscow are still in talks for the presence of Syrian Kurdish fighters there, the Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Thursday. "The Russian Federation delegation informed that a total of 34,000 YPG (People's Protection Units) members with 3,260 heavy weapons were taken out from the east of Tel Rifat, Munbic and east of the Euphrates to the south of the safe zone which is 30 km deep since the morning of October 29, in accordance with the principles set out in the Sochi Agreement," the minister said speaking at the budget talks of the Turkish parliament. But Ankara has contrary findings and the issue is being discussed with Moscow, he added. On Oct. 9, Turkey launched a military incursion, Operation Peace Spring, into northern Syria in a bid to drive Kurdish fighters out of the border region, following the pullout of U.S. … [Read more...] about Turkey establishes safe zone in northern Syria: minister
Turkey says ready create peace corridor northern syria
Video PlayerClose MOSCOW, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- Russia is ready to join mediation efforts to help end the Venezuelan crisis, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday. "We have paid great attention to the mediation formula proposed by Mexico, Uruguay and Caribbean countries. It calls for a comprehensive all-inclusive dialogue without ultimatums and preconditions," Zakharova said at a news briefing. "We believe that this initiative, as it was announced, deserves broad international support," she said. Russia supports the broadest contacts on the Venezuelan issue and has consistently explained its position, Zakharova said. She said that any attempt by the United States to make Russia change its position is hardly feasible as it is "not built on some short-term opportunistic considerations." Russia respects international law and state sovereignty in line with the principles of the United Nations Charter and it therefore is ready for a dialogue with everyone, … [Read more...] about Russia says ready to mediate Venezuelan crisis
A Turkish jet has shot down a drone that entered its airspace from Syria, sharply raising the stakes along its volatile southern border where Russian jets are continuing to bomb Ankara’s allies in the anti-Assad opposition. The drone was a similar size and shape to small surveillance craft used by Russia, and military sources in Beirut and the Turkish capital said it is likely that it belonged to the Russian military. But Moscow said all its jets and drones had returned safely to base. Turkey had warned Moscow, after several incursions by fighter jets earlier this month, that it would not tolerate further entries into its airspace. Turkish officials appeared anxious, however, to avoid an escalation on Friday, emphasising that the aircraft was unmanned and refusing to publicly apportion blame. The encounter underscored the febrile atmosphere along the Turkish-Syrian border, where Russia has emerged as a major player in the Syrian war over the past month, boosting the fortunes of … [Read more...] about Turkey shoots down unidentified drone near Syrian border
Whatever the rights and wrongs of the incident in which a Russian SU-24 fighter jet was shot down by the Turkish air force, this was an accident waiting to happen. Ever since Moscow announced that Russia was going to launch airstrikes on Syria, the risks were obvious. One, at the outset, was the danger that poor coordination between Russia and all the other forces operating in Syrian airspace would lead to the US, for instance, downing a Russian plane (or vice versa), even though both sides insisted they were fighting the common enemy, Islamic State. In fact, defence officials from either side rapidly met to work out some rules, and these appear to have been observed. Mercifully too, it appears, today’s incident is being treated as of bilateral, not alliance significance – in other words, not the first Nato-Russia armed clash since the Soviet collapse. The other risk was that Russian planes – either because of the area in which they were operating or because, at least … [Read more...] about Will the downing of a Russian fighter jet wreck Syria peace hopes?
The shooting down by Turkish forces of a Russian Su-24 warplane follows rising tension between the two countries over a continuing Russian bombing campaign against ethnic Turkmen villages in north-western Syria, close to Turkey’s border. It also marks the first direct clash between a Nato member and Russia’s armed forces since Vladimir Putin launched his unilateral military intervention in Syria last month. Nato had already warned Russia over previous border infractions, and the US took “deconfliction” steps to minimise the risk of accidental conflict. Now the Nato alliance and the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria find themselves facing exactly the kind of unplanned but inflammatory confrontation with Moscow they had been urgently striving to avoid. Turkey has repeatedly expressed concern over the attacks on the Turkmens, a Sunni Muslim minority who many Turks regard as their kith and kin. Like the Ankara government, the Turkmens oppose the regime of the … [Read more...] about Turkey caught between aiding Turkmen and economic dependence on Russia