Russia called for a UN security council meeting on Friday over fears of a possible Turkish ground operation in Syria, after Ankara mooted a possible joint intervention with Gulf and western allies.
“Russia intends to convene a UN security council meeting today to discuss this issue and to introduce a draft resolution calling for a halt to any actions that would undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
Turkey has called for a joint ground operation in Syria with its international allies, insisting that such an intervention was the only way to stop the country’s five-year civil war.
A senior Turkish official said on Tuesday that Ankara wanted such an operation to be carried out with it allies but emphasised there were no plans to act unilaterally. Russia is currently flying a bombing campaign in Syria to back up the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, who is fiercely opposed by Turkey and its allies.
Turkey is part of a separate US-led coalition that is carrying out its own air strikes in Syria, targeting jihadists from Daesh. Turkey also intensified its nearly week-long shelling of positions in Aleppo province on Friday, where it has sought to halt the advance of a Kurdish-led alliance against rebel forces.
Ties between Turkey and Russia have broken down since Ankara blasted one of Moscow’s fighter jets out of the sky along its border with Syria in November.
Meanwhile, Russian and US officials were meeting in Geneva today to try to help hammer out a possible ceasefire deal between regime and opposition forces in Syria after a hoped- for halt in hostilities failed to materialise.
The sit down between military officials and diplomats from the two sides was meant to pave the way for a broader UN-led meeting on a ceasefire between international players involved in the Syrian crisis.