Russia wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to declare publicly his commitment to preventing armed clashes on the Turkish border, Foreign Affairs Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a meeting with his Pakistani counterpart, according to Alexander Lukashevich, a ministry spokesman.
Mortar bombs fired across the Turkish-Syrian border killed five Turks in the town of Akcakale yesterday. Turkish artillery retaliated yesterday and today, killing 14 Syrian soldiers, according to Al Arabiya television.
“Of course we are very concerned about what happened,” Lukashevich told journalists in Moscow today. Syrian authorities assured Russia the shooting was accidental and “we hope it really was so,” he said, adding that the incident sends a “very alarming signal” that the conflict is spreading beyond Syria’s borders.
Turkey’s parliament approved a motion today allowing the government to order military action in Syria. The motion cites the Syrian artillery fire as a “serious threat to our national security” and says Turkish troops can be “deployed and given missions in foreign countries” in response.
Russia wants everyone involved in the Syrian violence to avoid measures that could worsen the situation, Lukashevich said. “This is an absolutely clear message to everyone whose trigger fingers are itching,” he said.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said authorities are investigating the source of the cross-border incident and offered condolences to the Turkish people, the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency reported.
Turkey also called an emergency meeting of its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies and wrote to the United Nations Security Council demanding action, as it sought to drum up international condemnation. The UN body has been unable to take action against Assad because of vetoes by Russia and China.
To contact the reporter on this story: Stepan Kravchenko in Moscow at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at firstname.lastname@example.org