The Russian Defense Ministry said that developments on the Turkish-Syrian border have given them serious grounds to suspect that Turkey is planning a military invasion in Syria.
Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told journalists: “We have good reasons to believe that Turkey is actively preparing for a military invasion of a sovereign state – the Syrian Arab Republic. We’re detecting more and more signs of Turkish armed forces being engaged in covert preparations for direct military actions in Syria”
Russian MoD registers a growing number of signs of hidden preparation of the Turkish Armed Forces for active actions on territory of #SYRIA
— Минобороны России (@mod_russia) February 4, 2016
He also reminded that Moscow had previously provided the international community with video evidence of Turkish military firing on Syrian civilian 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 supplying terrorists in the Syrian cities of Idlib and Aleppo with manpower and weaponry, Konashenkov said.
The spokesman showed the media a photo of the Reyhanli checkpoint, saying that “through this very border crossing – mainly at nighttime – the militants, who seized the city of Aleppo and Idlib in northwestern Syria, are being supplied with arms and fighters from the Turkish territory.”
Turkey is trying to conceal its illegal military activity on the border with Syria and has canceled an agreed Russian observation 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 cancellation of the Russian observation 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 cancellation 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.
The terrorists in northern Syria are suffering losses and retreating to the Turkish border, the Defense Ministry spokesman said.
According to Konashenkov, terrorist commanders have made major efforts to evacuate injured fighters and regain control of their units.
Turkish airspace violation claims ‘poorly-orchestrated provocation’
Russia still hasn’t received any data from Turkey concerning the alleged incident with the Russian warplane, which Ankara accused of violating its airspace, Konashenkov said.
“Just a few minutes ago, another Turkish official said the data was passed to Moscow… No materials were passed to us by either military or diplomatic channels,” he stressed.
The spokesman said that false statements from the Turkish side “once again confirm that the whole story of the alleged violation of Turkish airspace was made up and is a poorly-orchestrated provocation.”