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Turkey: Russia Trying To Carry Out 'Ethnic Cleansing' In Syria

Turkey accuses Russia of pursuing a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" in northern Syria, in the latest escalation of tensions between Ankara and Moscow.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on December 9 that Russia's bombing campaign was forcing Turkoman and Sunni populations in northern Latakia Province out to create a safe haven for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and to protect Russian bases.

Davutoglu added that Russia's strikes were "strengthening" the Islamic State group by targeting moderate opposition forces.

The Turkish military downed a Russian bomber on the Syrian border on November 24, triggering a bitter row between Moscow and Ankara.

Turkey says the plane was shot down after it illegally entered Turkish space, which Russia denies.

Davutoglu said he was "ready to work" with Russia to "prevent a repeat of similar incidents in the future."

Without proper coordination over operations in Syria, he warned, there will always be a risk of "accidents or unintentional confrontation."

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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