The Russian Defence Ministry said it had pulled its servicemen out of Syria’s Afrin city, where Turkey was waging an offensive against Kurdish forces. The operational group of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of Warring Parties in Syria and the military police in Afrin were relocated to the Tell-Adjar area within the Tell-Rifat de-escalation zone to avert possible provocations and dangers, the Defence Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported. Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Moscow is concerned about the Turkish military operation in Afrin and it is closely monitoring the development of the situation. “We call on the opposing sides to exercise mutual restraint,” it said.
The Turkish attack on Kurdish forces in Afrin will likely cast a shadow over the upcoming Syrian National Dialogue Congress, which is being brokered by Russia, Turkey and Iran for a political settlement of the Syrian conflict.