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Moscow 'seriously concerned' about Turkish airstrikes in Iraq, Syria

Turkey's airstrikes overnight to April 25 on areas of Iraq and Syria along the border trigger most serious concerns in Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday.

"As the Turkish side declares, the strikes targeted positions of armed units of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Syrian Democratic Forces with the close to the PKK Democratic Union Party at the head," the ministry said, adding that some 70 Kurdish fighters were reportedly killed.

"Such moves trigger most serious concern in Moscow. We are talking about actions by Turkish military against Kurdish forces that really stand against terrorist groups, first of all Islamic State, on the ground," the ministry said.

"In conditions when completion of a war against terrorism in Iraq and Syria is still a long way off, such actions definitely discourage consolidation of anti-terrorist efforts, escalating the already tense situation," the ministry said,

"The fact that Turkish airstrikes were conducted on the territory of sovereign states in bypass of their legitimate governments cannot but cause concern. We consider these actions inadmissible, running counter to the founding principles of inter-state relations," the ministry said.

"In this situation we urge all parties to restraint. It is necessary to demonstrate due political foresight and focus attention on a most important for today task - countering international terrorism represented by Islamic State, (Jabhat al) Nusra and other affiliated groups," the ministry said.

Overnight to Tuesday, Turkish airplanes conducted strikes against facilities of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey deems as terrorist, in Sinjar mountains (Iraq's northwest) and Karachok mountains (in Syria's northeast). The General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces said "40 members of a separatist terrorist organization were neutralized in Iraq and 30 in Syria".

[Source: Itar Tass, Moscow, 26Apr17]

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