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Russia calls for restraint, dialogue on Syria

Russian authorities have urged all parties to restrain from stirring up tensions in Syria and expressed readiness to facilitate a multilateral dialogue so as to restore peace in the Middle East country.
Russia calls for restraint, dialogue on Syria

"We consider it important that all parties exercise restraint and carefully weigh their practical steps, mainly so as not to damage the measures taken to achieve a political settlement and to advance the political process," Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov was quoted by Sputnik news agency as saying on Thursday.

On Wednesday, Turkey launched a military offensive dubbed "Operation Peace Spring" in northern Syria bordering southern Turkey. Turkish airstrikes and howitzers have hit 181 targets in northern Syria as part of the military action, according to the Turkish Defence Ministry.

"We are sympathetic to Ankara's concerns regarding the protection of national security, but there are key international legal norms that underlie joint efforts to fight terrorism and restore peace in Syria," Ushakov said, Xinhua reported.

In particular, he underlined that the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria should be respected and ensured.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also expressed concern over the escalating situation in Syria.

"We want this situation to calm down as soon as possible, first of all based on the principle of respect for Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Lavrov told reporters on Thursday after a meeting of foreign ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States in the Turkmen capital of Ashgabat.

He said that Russia, in good relations with all parties, is going to promote a dialogue between Damascus, Ankara and Kurdish organisations, in which Syrian officials and representatives of Kurdish organisations have shown interest.

Also on Thursday, Lavrov and Iraqi President Barham Salih had a telephone conversation and stressed the need to achieve sustainable stability in Syria through multilateral dialogue, according to a statement of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The two sides agreed that Russia and Iraq are ready to facilitate the establishment of a dialogue between Damascus and Ankara, as well as between Syrian authorities and representatives of the Syrian Kurds, the statement said.

( With inputs from IANS )

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