MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia appealed to Turkey on Friday to stay calm and avoid any action that could increase tension with Syria after a series of cross-border attacks provoked stern warnings from Ankara.
The Russian statement was a response to the Turkish parliament’s decision on Thursday authorizing cross-border military action in the event of further aggression.
“We express the hope that the Turkish side will show restraint and will not take any steps that would lead to further aggravation of the situation in the region,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Turkish artillery bombarded Syrian military targets on Wednesday and Thursday in response to the shelling by Syrian forces and Ankara has made clear it is ready to launch more retaliatory strikes if the war spills across the border.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his country did not want war with Syria but was “not far” from it.
Russia opposes foreign intervention in Syria, an ally and arms customer since the Soviet era, and together with China has vetoed three U.N. Security Ciouncil resolutions condemning President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
On Thursday, Russia joined the other Security Council members in condemning the Syrian mortar attack on a Turkish border town after Western members revised a draft of the statement to accommodate some of Moscow’s concerns.
Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Angus MacSwan