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20 Jan, 2018 15:51

Moscow urges Turkey, Kurds to show ‘restraint’ amid Afrin operation launch

Moscow urges Turkey, Kurds to show ‘restraint’ amid Afrin operation launch

Russia has expressed concerns over the Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias in Syrian region of Afrin. Moscow urged all parties to show restraint, adding it was “closely watching” the situation.

READ MORE: Turkish planes bomb Syrian Kurdish targets as Ankara-backed rebels enter Afrin

The launch of ‘Operation Olive Branch’ by Ankara against Kurdish militias controlling the Syrian region of Afrin has raised deep concerns in Russia, the Foreign Ministry said on Saturday. Moscow urged all the parties to show restraint and respect the territorial integrity of Syria, stressing the importance of focusing international efforts on the peace process in the country after the main forces of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) have been crushed.

Earlier Saturday, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim confirmed that aircraft bombed targets in Afrin, and that eight F-16 aircraft were involved in the operation. “As of this moment, our brave Armed Forces have started the aerial offensive to eliminate the PYD and PKK and [Islamic State] elements in Afrin,” Yildirim said.

Senior Kurdish official, Hevi Mustafa, said Turkish warplanes had struck residential areas of Afrin, forcing people to take refuge inside their homes and in shelters, according to Reuters. He said several wounded people had arrived at local hospitals for treatment.