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Russia Accuses Turkey Of Operating 'Inside Syria'

Russia has accused Turkey of deploying troops "a few hundred meters from the border inside Syria" to prevent Kurdish groups in northern Syria from consolidating their positions.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview aired on March 13 that Moscow has evidence of Turkey's rampant military "expansion" inside Syria.

"While demanding that Kurdish positions are not reinforced in Syria, Turkey has been claiming its sovereign right to create 'security zones' on Syrian soil," Lavrov told Russia's REN TV.

There were no immediate reactions from Turkish officials to Lavrov's comments.

The comments come as Ankara imposed curfews on two towns -- in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast -- where its security forces are set to launch large-scale operations against militants linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The Syrian conflict has sparked growing friction between Turkey and Russia, which says the Kurds should be included in diplomatic efforts to end the five-year civil war.

Earlier this month, Lavrov said any attempt to keep the Kurds out of peace talks would infringe on the rights "of a large and significant group" of people living in Syria.

Based on reporting by AFP and AP

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