Russia warns Turkey against attacking Syrian forces

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov

Moscow: Russia on Wednesday warned Turkey against attacking Syrian forces after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch an operation in Syria's Idlib region.

"If we are talking about an operation against the legitimate authorities of the Syrian republic and armed forces of the Syrian republic this would of course be the worst scenario," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

He added however that Moscow would not object if Turkey acted against "terrorist groups in Idlib" in accordance with existing agreements.

"Contacts with Turkey are continuing," Peskov added.

Earlier on Wednesday Erdogan threatened to launch an operation in Idlib by the end of the month if Damascus fails to withdraw its troops behind Turkish military positions.

"An operation in Idlib is imminent," he told his party's lawmakers in parliament.

Syrian forces, backed by Russian air power, have pressed a brutal offensive in Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in the northwest of the country, sparking fears of a humanitarian catastrophe.

In 2018, Russia and Turkey agreed to enforce a demilitarised zone in the Idlib region from which "radical" fighters would be required to withdraw.

Russia insists that groups of terrorists continue fighting in the northwestern provence.