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Iran understands Turkey’s security concerns in northern Syria, ready to offer initiatives to ease tensions: FM

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 Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian (R) and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says the Islamic Republic understands Turkey's security concerns along the Syrian border, noting that Tehran is ready to use its capacities to help solve the differences between the two neighboring countries.

“We understand Turkey’s security concerns and stress the need to address them. The key to the problem, however, requires continuation of security talks between the two countries and not ground military operations. These steps will not help resolution of existing problems; but would cause losses and complicate the situation,” Amir-Abdollahian said in a telephone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Tuesday evening.

The Iranian foreign minister went on to note that Iran is prepared to help facilitate the political solution of lingering issues between Ankara and Damascus.

Cavusoglu, for his part, briefed the top Iranian diplomat on his country's positions on the situation in Syria, and appreciated the constructive role of Iran and said that such consultations must continue.

Meanwhile, Turkey has hinted at the possibility of ground operations in northern Syria and Iraq.

"The time, scale and boundaries of the operations of the Turkish Armed Forces are determined by Ankara... The operation can begin tomorrow, next week, even later, at any time. The situation is being assessed by the Turkish military and intelligence," Turkish presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, said Tuesday.

He added that Ankara coordinated its actions with Moscow during the air operation in the region.

"These issues are being discussed regarding our plans for air force operations. How did we enter the airspace in Tell Rifaat? We discussed this (with Russia), coordinated our actions. We plan, discuss, coordinate, act," Kalin said.

The spokesman also stressed that his country continues to maintain dialogue with Damascus.

Ankara has blamed the November 13 bomb attack at a bustling avenue in the heart of Istanbul on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group and its Syrian affiliate of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militant group, which is the backbone of the so-called  Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Kurdish forces have denied involvement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suggested that Ankara is planning to deploy ground forces to attack Kurdish forces stationed across the border in Syria.

“We have been bearing down on terrorists for a few days with our planes, cannons and guns,” Erdogan said in a speech on Tuesday.

“God willing, we will root out all of them as soon as possible, together with our tanks, our soldiers,” he noted.

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 YPG militants away from border areas.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to Turkey’s ongoing ground offensive.

Both Iran and Russia, which have been aiding Damascus in its anti-terror campaign, have warned Turkey against launching a new offensive.


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