Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday that establishing more de-escalation zones in Syria was not a priority for now.
He told reporters that it was important to prevent violation of ceasefire agreements in eastern Ghouta, a situation which he planned to discuss with Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu who is on a visit to Moscow.
Turkey sets up safe corridor for civilians to evacuate Afrin
As the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters encircle the city center of Afrin, a civilian convoy was able to evacuate the northwestern Syrian region through safe corridors that were set up by Turkey.The safe corridors are set to ease civilians’ exit from the southern parts of the Afrin city center.PKK/PYD builds Pentagon base in Syria’s AfrinTurkey, US to decide on Manbij roadmap on March 19: FM ÇavuşoğluAfrin city center surrounded, says Turkish armyThe Turkish Armed Forces announced on Tuesday that the Afrin city center, in northwestern Syria, has been surrounded since Monday as part of the Turkish-led Operation Olive Branch.On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear YPG/PKK-Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.Video: PKK/PYD terrorists block evacuation of civilians from AfrinAccording to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.The Turkish army and FSA have besieged the town of Afrin, 90 villages and a nearby town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday, confirming the Turkish military's statement that it had encircled the area.A total of 3,393 terrorists have been neutralized since the start of the operation, the army said in a statement on Tuesday morning.Video: FSA forces advance in Afrin region amid Operation Olive Branch
Russian military says will respond if US strikes Syria
The Russian military will respond to a U.S. strike on Syria, targeting any missiles and launchers involved in such an attack, the RIA news agency reported on Tuesday.RIA cited Valery Gerasimov, head of the General Staff, as saying that Moscow would retaliate if the lives of Russian servicemen in Syria were threatened.
Turkey, US to decide on Manbij roadmap on March 19: FM Çavuşoğlu
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Tuesday that Turkey and the U.S. are set to decide on a roadmap concerning Syria’s Manbij on March 19, adding that Turkish forces would carry out a military operation if those failed.The northern city of Manbij has been under the occupation of terrorists from the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).Çavuşoğlu said that both the U.S. and Turkey will accompany YPG terrorists as they withdraw from Manbij.Speaking to reporters on his flight to Moscow, Çavuşoğlu also said Turkey had not made any demands from the Syrian government regarding Manbij, and added Ankara would monitor the return of weapons given to the YPG by the United States, an issue that has strained ties between the NATO allies. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. The PKK has been conducting armed violence in the southeastern part of Turkey since 1984. More than 40,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the three-decade long conflict.Afrin city center surrounded, says Turkish army