Turkish Leaders Reject Russia’s Call to Return Town to Assad’s Rule


Turkey refused to heed a call from Russia to pull its troops from a northern Syrian town it seized from Kurdish militants, underscoring a rift within an alliance that’s now the dominant actor in Syria’s war.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels captured Afrin on March 18 after a two-month offensive against the Kurdish YPG, who finally abandoned the town and withdrew. The government of President Bashar al-Assad has condemned what it calls Turkey’s occupation of Syrian territory, and he received strong backing on Monday from leading ally Russia.

The simplest way to normalize the situation in Afrin is to give control to the Syrian government, Interfax news agency cited Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as saying.

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