Nicolas Dhuicq, a French National Assembly Defense Commission member said that the question is first to maintain a sort of air sovereignty over Syria to restrain Turkish air force operations over Syria.
Russia and France should work together to put Syrian airspace off limits to Turkish warplanes, a French National Assembly Defense Commission member told Sputnik on Thursday.
Russian upper-house speaker Valentina Matvienko said on Wednesday that Russia was ready to work with France, Iraq and Jordan to shut tight the Turkish border with Syria, to stem the flow of militants and weapons. The matter of controlling the Turkish-Syrian border is a key issue on the international agenda, according to Matvienko.
“The question is first to maintain a sort of air sovereignty over Syria to restrain Turkish air force operations over Syria,” Nicolas Dhuicq said, answering a question on ways for Russia and France to work together to ensure stability on the Syrian-Turkish border.
Russia and France have been conducting precision airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS, or Daesh in Arabic) jihadist group in Syria since September. Both Moscow and Brussels have outlawed IS as a terrorist organization.
Dhuicq, a member of Nicolas Sarkozy’s center-right The Republicans party, welcomed Russia’s offer of cooperation, but said it would be met with caution by Paris after Moscow’s rift with NATO member Ankara over the downing of a Russian attack aircraft.
He stressed that for the moment it would be “wise” for Russia and France to focus on coordinating their airstrikes against ISIL positions and “to try to find common ground on the future of Syria, and especially that of President [Bashar] Assad.”
Relations between Moscow and Ankara declined sharply after a Turkish jet brought down a Russian SU-24 aircraft over Syria in November, claiming it had violated Turkish airspace. Both the Russian General Staff and the Syrian Air Defense Command confirmed that the Russian jet had never crossed into Turkish airspace.
Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry unveiled satellite images that it said proved Turkey had been buying oil from ISIL militants, produced in oilfields in the Syrian and Iraqi territories under the Islamists’ control.