Turkey warns Russia over targeting Turkmens in Syria

Turkey warns Russia of consequences of targeting Turkmens in Syria after Syrian regime forces capture Turkmen town in western province

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Debris of buildings are seen after Russian airstrikes at Bayirbucak Turkmen region in Latakia, Syria on November 15, 2015

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgic said on Thursday that Russian airstrikes on Turkmen areas in Syria could lead to serious consequences after Syrian regime forces supported by Russian airstrikes targeted the Turkmen town of Bayir-Bucak in the western coastal province of Latakia.

He stated that Turkey has repeatedly warned Russian Federation Deputy Foreign Minister and President Putin's Special Representative for the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov about targeting Turkmen in Syria.

Furthermore, Turkey summoned Russian envoy Karlov to discuss the bombing of civilians in Syrian Turkmen villages near the Turkish border. 

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Syrian regime's advance against the rebels is being covered by Russian air strikes which started in September in support of the regime and its leader Bashar al Assad.

"Russian bombardment, which aimed to target DAESH has also targeted civilians, including Bayir-Bucak Turkmens," the SOHR said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Bilgic stated that he has been informed about Russian air planes striking Turkmen villages near the Turkish-Syrian border. Bilgic said, "Within the scope of this information we summoned Russian envoy Andrey Karlov to the our ministry. We emphasised that Russia’s air strikes are not countering terrorism but targeting civilians in Turkmen villages. We stated that this could lead to serious consequence."

After bombarding areas in the Turkman region in the northern countryside, regime forces targeted the Fırınlık, Acısı, and Avanlı regions of the Turkmen mountain area near the border city of Kasab in Latakia Province in a ground operation.

Turkey Anadolu Agency (AA) also reported that explosions were heard coming from the border town of Yayladagı in Turkey’s Hatay Province.

The Turkish Red Crescent has delivered humanitarian aid to the Bayırbucak Turkmen area. The aid includes food, medical supplies, clothes, blankets and school supplies, AA reported.

In early November Russian jets destroyed a number of Turkmen shelters and ammunition stores in the Bayir-Bucak region.

On Wednesday, when briefing Russian President Vladimir Putin,  Russian military chiefs reported that Russia has stationed ground troops in two locations in Syria. The first is the port of Tartous and the other is in Latakia’s Bassel al Assad airport. From those two airbases the Russian Air Force is conducting air strikes in Syria.

Violent confrontations are currently taking place between regime forces and rebels around Zowek in the northern countryside of Latakia.

“The confrontations were accompanied by what is believed to be Russian airstrikes near the village of Ghaman in northern Latakia,” the SOHR reported.

Earlier this week Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that there no agreement has been reached between the world powers after the most recent talks on the conflict in Syria in Vienna.

Over four and a half years of fighting in Syria has left over 250,000 Syrians dead, according to UN estimates. More than 6.7 million are displaced internally while at least 5 million have fled the country to the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan.

TRTWorld and agencies