The situation in Syria’s Afrin has been provoked by the actions of the United States among other things and may lead to further destabilization of the region, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik in an interview.
“Ankara assured us that the efforts made by the Turkish troops do not contradict the work that Turkey is conducting and will continue to conduct in the area of political settlement in Syria… At the same time, the developments of the situation in Afrin, provoked by the actions of the United States among other things, can lead to even greater destabilization in this region,” Syromolotov said.
The diplomat noted that Afrin had become another hotbed of tension, adding that Ankara and Washington had opposing interests in the region.
“The interests of the United States and Turkey in the region are increasingly diverging. In fact, the NATO allies have already wound up on opposite sides,” Syromolotov said.
On January 20, the Turkish Armed Forces launched Operation “Olive Branch” against the Kurdish forces in Afrin, an area controlled by the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are considered by Ankara to be affiliates of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), designated as a terrorist organization in Turkey. The operation has been conducted cooperatively with the Free Syrian Army forces.
Russia and US Contacts
New contacts between the Russian and US intelligence services in the area of counter-terrorism are being planned, Oleg Syromolotov said.
“Even under these difficult conditions, bilateral meetings of officials responsible for security issues, during which the anti-terror issues can be discussed, take place. The meetings of the heads of intelligence services of our countries, consultations on combating terrorism funding, which were held this year, are some examples of it … New contacts are being planned and prepared,” Syromolotov stressed.
Earlier, the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Russia, Sergei Naryshkin, the head of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, and the head of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Igor Korobov have visited Washington.