News   /   Politics

Zarif: Escalation of tensions in Syria serves interests of terrorists, their sponsors

Turkish-backed Syrian militants gather in the village of al-Mastumah, about seven kilometres south of the city of Idlib on February 10, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says further escalation of tensions in the war-torn Syria as a result of recent confrontations between the country’s military forces and their Turkish counterparts will only play into the hands of foreign-backed terrorists and their international sponsors.

In a post on his Twitter account on Monday, Iran's chief diplomat said, “Escalation of tensions only serves interests of terrorists and their sponsors.”

“Avoidance of bloodshed and respect for sovereignty & territorial integrity is imperative,” the tweet further said.

On October 9, Turkish army forces, together with militants of the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA), who enjoy Ankara’s patronage, launched a cross-border offensive into northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to clear members of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara regards the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in the Anatolian country since 1984.

In another part of his tweet, Zarif relayed Tehran’s viewpoint on resolution of differences between Damascus and Ankara, noting “Iran reiterates its readiness to facilitate dialogue among brother neighbors #Turkey & #Syria.”

The remarks come amid fears of a large-scale confrontation between Ankara and Damascus as Syrian government has been advancing against foreign-backed Takfiri militants in Idlib, tightening the noose around the extremists, while Turkey has further reinforced its troops in the province, the last major stronghold of the terrorists.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened that his country would launch a military operation in Idlib if Syria’s ongoing counterterrorism operation continued.

The Syrian army declared the start of an offensive against foreign-sponsored militants in Idlib on August 5 last year.

It came after those positioned in the de-escalation zone failed to honor a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey and continued to target civilian neighborhoods.

Under the Sochi agreement, all militants in the demilitarized zone that surrounds Idlib, and also parts of the provinces of Aleppo and west-central province of Hama, were supposed to pull out heavy arms by October 17, 2018, with the Takfiri groups having to withdraw two days earlier.

Meanwhile, Turkey has set up a dozen observation points in Idlib to uphold the ceasefire reached between Moscow and Ankara.

Over the past four years, the Turkish military has staged at least two unauthorized invasions into northern Syria — in 2016 and 2018 — to push back against Kurdish militants, who Ankara accuses of harboring subversive intentions against the Turkish administration.

Syria has denounced the offensives, saying it would respond in kind if the need arises.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku