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Lavrov says Russia could police Syria-Turkey safe zone - agencies

Lavrov says Russia could police Syria-Turkey safe zone - agencies
FILE PHOTO: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 16, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo -
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MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian military police could be deployed in a proposed "safe zone" along Syria's northern border with Turkey, Russian news agencies cited foreign minister Sergei Lavrov as saying to Chinese and Vietnamese media on Sunday.

The suggestion is unlikely to appeal to Ankara, which is keen to set up the zone but has stressed it must be under Turkish control, with only its own forces deployed there.

"Our only expectation from our allies is that they provide logistical support," Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told his supporters in a speech in January.

Russia has said that Turkey had no right to set up the zone without seeking and receiving consent from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Lavrov was cited as saying on Sunday that the format of the safe zone was in the process of being finalised by military leaders, and that any decision would take the interests of Damascus and Ankara into account as far as possible.

"We have experience in combining ceasefire agreements, safety measures and the creation of de-escalation zones with the roll-out of Russian military police," Lavrov was cited as saying.

"Such a possibility is being kept open for this buffer zone."

(Reporting by Polina Ivanova; editing by Jason Neely)

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