Russia to U.S.: Don’t ‘play with fire’ in Syria

Russia to U.S.: Don’t ‘play with fire’ in Syria
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Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov issued a stark warning to the U.S. on Monday for its support of the Kurds in Syria, saying Washington should not "play with fire" in the region.

“The U.S. should stop playing very dangerous games which could lead to the dismemberment of the Syrian state,” Lavrov said at a Middle East Conference in Moscow on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

“We are seeing attempts to exploit the Kurds’ aspirations," he continued. 

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The U.S. is in the process of creating a Kurdish-led protection force, consisting of 30,000 people in northeast Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's supporters, which include Russia and Iran, have said the U.S. move to support the Kurds in the area is aimed at creating an American zone of influence.

A U.S. strike in Syria on pro-Assad forces earlier this month may have killed numerous Russian mercenaries. 

A U.S. official put the death toll at 100, with 200 to 300 injured which, if true, marks the deadliest clash between U.S. and Russian citizens since the since the end of the Cold War.

U.S.-Turkish relations in the region have also grown complicated, with Turkey embarking on a military offensive in Syria's northwest Afrin district.