BELGRADE – Developments on the Turkish-Syrian border give serious grounds to suspect that Ankara is planning a military invasion in Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
“We have serious grounds to suspect intensive preparations by Turkey for a military invasion on the territory of the sovereign state of Syria,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, Defense Ministry spokesman, told journalists.
“We are recording more and more signs of concealed preparations by the Turkish military,” he added.
The spokesman reminded that Moscow had previously provided the international community with irrefutable video evidence of Turkish artillery firing on Syrian populated areas in the north of Latakia Province.
“We are surprised that the talkative representatives of the Pentagon, NATO and numerous organizations allegedly protecting human rights in Syria, despite our call to respond to these actions, still remain silent [on the shelling by Turkey],” he said.
Turkey is trying to conceal its illegal military activity on the border with Syria and has canceled an agreed Russian surveillance flight over its territory because of that, Konashenkov said.
“Such steps carried out by a country, which is a NATO member state, in no way contribute to the strengthening of trust and security in Europe,” the spokesman told journalists.
Konashenkov called the cancelation of the Russian surveillance flight over Turkish territory “a dangerous precedent and an attempt to conceal illegal military activity near the border with Syria.”
The violation of the Open Skies Treaty by Ankara won’t go without a proper response from Moscow, he said.
Konashenkov also said Russia has boosted all kinds of intelligence and surveillance activities in the Middle East.
“So if someone in Ankara thinks that the cancelation of the flight by the Russian observers will enable hiding something then they’re unprofessional.”
The spokesman reminded that 32 foreign observation flights took place in Russian air space in 2015, in accordance with the treaty, with four of them carried out by Turkish observers.
The earlier agreed observation flight over Turkish territory was canceled on February 3, after Russian experts revealed the route, which would have included airfields and areas near the Turkish-Syrian border.