Turkey's Erdogan Wondering about Russian Action in Syria

World | October 3, 2015, Saturday // 12:58|  views

A handout picture provided by the Turkish Presidential Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking during the G20 Summit of Energy Ministers meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, October 02, 2015. EPA/BGNES

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called on Russia to end air strikes in Syria, accusing Moscow of targeting the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Erdogan has vowed to discuss the situation with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, days before Russia officially announced it was beginning strikes on Islamic State (IS) targets that later allegedly turned out to include broader groups of the Syrian opposition. The Kremlin, on the other hand, says it is bombing specifically IS, though it underlines other groups fighting the regime of its ally are also considered to be terrorist organizations.

"Why is Russia so interested in Syria? I want to understand this?" Putin has told Al-Jazeera in a televised interview aired Friday.

"Russia has no border with Syria, but I have a 911-km-long border," Erdogan has pointed out, adding his country is also looking after 2 million people who fled the war in Syria.

Russia is bombing "moderate opposition" resisting Assad's regime, instead of "Da'esh" (the Arabic acronym Turkey tends to use to describe IS), Erdogan has opined.

So far Moscow has only excluded the Free Syrian Army from the list of groups it puts among "terrorists" and has referred to groups such as the Nusra Front as ones it considers to be posing danger.

Turkey's President has also said that he will "definitely" meet with Putin to discuss the developments.

Earlier, the United States also voiced its concern over Russia's move to hit non-IS targets.

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Tags: turkey, Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, Russia, Syria, migrants, Bashar Al-Assad, Assad, air strikes, Islamic state, IS, Da'esh


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