By Elena Teslova
Russia is concerned about the fact that the U.S. is seriously engaged in developing "alternative bodies of authority" on a huge part of the Syrian territory, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said in a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday.
“A couple of days ago, the Americans announced the creation of security forces on the border in Syria. Today they say that they are misunderstood [...]. But it is the fact that the U.S. is seriously engaged in developing alternative bodies of authority on a huge part of the Syrian territory. It is against their own commitments to the territorial integrity of Syria to which they subscribed. We are concerned about that,” said Lavrov.
Lavrov also refuted claims that Russian troops had withdrawn from Afrin.
Earlier reports had said that Russian troops had left Afrin in connection with Turkey's plans to launch an operation against the PYD/PKK.
The anticipated offensive is expected to be waged along the lines of last year's Operation Euphrates Shield, in which the Turkey-backed FSA successfully cleared northern Syria of terrorist elements.
Turkey shares a 911-kilometer (roughly 566-mile) border with Syria, which has only just begun to emerge from a devastating war that began in 2011.
An estimated 65 percent of the Turkey-Syria border is currently controlled by the PYD/PKK.
In 2011, Syria's Assad regime handed Afrin over to the PYD/PKK and there are now between 8,000 and 10,000 terrorists in the area, according to information obtained by Anadolu Agency.
The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU.
Since the mid-1980s, the PKK has waged a wide-ranging terror campaign against the Turkish state in which an estimated 40,000 people have been killed.
More than 1,200 security personnel have been martyred since July 2015 alone when the group resumed its armed campaign against the Turkish state following a fragile cease-fire.