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Turkey summons Russia envoy over Syria border bombing

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Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria in September, saying it needed to target Islamic State militants before they cross into Russia
Moscow launched a bombing campaign in Syria in September, saying it needed to target Islamic State militants before they cross into Russia
Ankara (AFP) - Turkey summoned the Russian ambassador after Moscow’s war planes bombed Syrian territory "very close" to the Turkish border, the foreign ministry said Friday, adding to tensions as the two sides seek to narrow their differences over the Syria conflict.
Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov was called in to hear Turkey’s concern over Russia’s bombing of "civilian Turkmen villages... very close to the border" with Turkey, the foreign ministry said in a statement.
Turkey has asked Russia to "immediately end its operation," it added.
Ankara warned that bombing villages populated by the Turkmen minority in Syria could lead to "serious consequences," the ministry added.
Turkey also conveyed its "warning and demand" to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East, Mikhail Bogdanov.
Turkish authorities have already summoned the Russian ambassador several times since September 30, when Russia started its hugely controversial air campaign in Syria.
Turkey protested that Russian aircraft violated Turkish air space and also warned Moscow against supplying arms and support for Syrian Kurdish forces fighting the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
The latest tensions come as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to visit Turkey on Wednesday, with the over four-year conflict that has torn Syria apart and left over a quarter of a million dead at the top of the agenda.
With momentum growing in long-stalled efforts to find a peace deal for Syria after the Paris attacks, the two sides will be seeking to narrow their differences on the conflict.
Ankara supports rebels opposing the regime of President Bashar al-Assad but Moscow has refused to abandon the Syrian leader. The Russian air campaign is widely seen as buttressing his regime.
Russia insists its air campaign is focused against IS jihadists but Turkey and its allies fear the Russian bombing is mainly hitting anti-Assad rebels.

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