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Iran rejects Turkey’s threat to launch incursion into Syria, calls for dialog

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh says Tehran opposes the use of military action against regional countries, stressing that the only way to assuage Turkey’s security concerns is through dialog, rather than another incursion into neighboring Syria.

The remarks came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch a new military operation in Syria with the alleged aim of securing Turkey’s southern border.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran opposes any military action and the use of force on the territory of other countries with the aim of resolving disputes between them, and considers it a violation of the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of those countries,” Khatibzadeh said on Saturday.

Khatibzadeh said the use of force would further complicate the situation, increase the tensions, and lead to humanitarian disasters in the region.

He further said while the Islamic Republic understands Turkey’s security concerns, the only way to alleviate those concerns is through dialog and respect for bilateral agreements with neighbors as well as agreements reached within the Astana peace process to end the Syrian crisis.

The spokesman added that the Islamic Republic is ready to help “prevent the escalation of the crisis and any conflict whose victims will be only defenseless civilians.”

Speaking following a cabinet meeting on Monday, Erdogan said the aim of the military operation would be to resume Turkish efforts to create a 30-kilometer safe zone along its border with Syria.

“We will soon take new steps regarding the incomplete portions of the project we started on the 30-km deep safe zone we established along our southern border,” he said.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces in the northern part of the Arab country.

Damascus has also categorically rejected Erdogan’s call for the establishment of a so-called safe zone in the occupied northern part of the Arab country, describing the proposal as an “aggressive, colonial act.” 

In recent letters to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the rotating president of the UN Security Council Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said Ankara seeks to create a volatile area inside Syria and continue to sponsor, arm, and command terror groups against the Syrian nation.

The statement added that Turkey’s measures in Syrian territories are illegal and devoid of any legal effect, and even amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.


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