Moscow: Russia on Tuesday urged the West not to "search for pretexts" in order to conduct direct operations in Syria while also calling on Damascus and Ankara to exercise restraint along their flashpoint border.

"In our contacts with NATO partners... we call upon them not to search for pretexts to carry out a military scenario or initiatives like humanitarian corridors and buffer zones," Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told news agency.

Russia opposes any military action against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad as the violence rages, accusing the West of fuelling the 18-month conflict by allowing arms to flow to the opposition.

It has vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning Assad's role in the unrest, with President Vladimir Putin blaming the violence on the West's approach to the conflict.

Speculation over possible intervention in Syria intensified in recent weeks because of the regime's stockpiles of chemical weapons and reports that the army had carried out tests with the arms.

Violence had also begun to spill over the border to NATO-member Turkey, with shells fired from the Syrian side landing on Turkish soil.

Turkish troops fired across the Syrian border on Tuesday, killing a member of a Kurdish militia and wounding two others in the first such fatal shooting at the frontier, a watchdog reported.

"We believe that Syrian and Turkish authorities must exercise maximum restrained in this situation, given the growing numbers of radicals in the ranks of Syrian opposition, which may provoke a conflict on the border," Gatilov said.


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