The ceasefire seemingly did little to discourage Russia and Turkey from going at each other as new reports suggest that Ankara just breached the said agreement. Russia claimed that Turkey has violated the ceasefire deal in Syria nine times in the last 24 hours, while Ankara refused the accusations although it did not deny that it is supporting armed groups in the conflicted region.
“Overnight to February 28, the Russian Center for reconciling the warring sides in Syria received information on an attack from the Turkish territory on the Syrian town of Et Tell el-Abyad by armed units with the support of large-caliber artillery. This information was subsequently verified and confirmed through several channels, including representatives of the Syrian Democratic Forces,” TASS quoted Russian Center Head Lieutenant-General Sergei Kuralenko. Consequently, the Russian Center for Truce in Syria also asked the US Reconciliation Center for assistance on the issue about Turkey’s shelling in Syria.
“The Russian Center has turned to the US Reconciliation Center in Amman for explanations over the shelling of the Syrian territory by Turkey, which is a member of the US-led anti-IS [Islamic State] coalition,” Kuralenko added.
“At the same time there are a number of violations by groups of ‘moderate’ opposition and units of international terrorist organizations,” Yahoo quoted the Russian defense ministry. According to the statement, Turkey is linked to the armed groups and their activities especially since artillery originated from the Turkish territory. However, Turkey maintained that the country is not bounded by the ceasefire agreement given that its national security is under threat.
Al-Jazeera’s interview with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu further proved that Turkey does not intend to back down on military efforts related to Syria or its borders. The minister acknowledged during the talk that the country was backing up armed groups in Syria. He also said that Turkey is not out to invade and instead accused Russia of ethnic cleansing.
“How would they be able to defend themselves if there was no Turkish support of the Syrian people? … If there’s today a real moderate Syrian opposition, it’s because of the Turkish support. If today the [Assad] regime isn’t able to control all the territories [it’s] because of Turkish and some other countries’ support,” RT quoted Davutoglu during the interview.