20 Jan 2018 16:33

Turkey's operation in Afrin to mean escalation of tensions, it's fraught with serious conflict in Syria - senator Klintsevich

MOSCOW. Jan 20 (Interfax) - The beginning of the Turkish army's military operation in Afrin, Syria, will mean a serious escalation of tensions in the region, but Russia is not going to interfere with the conflict, Frants Klintsevich, first deputy head of the Federation Council's defense and security committee, told Interfax on Saturday.

"Ankara's operation in Syria's Afrin is fraught with growing tensions in the region, a serious conflict in Syria," Klintsevich said.

"However, Russia will not interfere with this conflict and will use its Armed Forces only if there is a threat to its bases in Tartus and Hmeimim," he said.

"The Syrians and the Kurds, who already have enough military experience, will not tolerate the outrage Turkey is causing, but, naturally, the Turkish army's combat capacity is way larger," he said.

In this situation, Russia is in difficult position, because Moscow "has good relations both with Damascus and Ankara," Klintsevich said.

"Russia's role as a mediator increases in this situation," he said, adding that he believes "it would be possible to prevent the worsening of the conflict in Syria."