Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on the Turkish government to reconsider its decision to launch an operation in northern Syria against Kurdish forces, saying the path Ankara has chosen won’t serve the region’s interests.
“The Turkish government has concerns about its southern borders, and it is their right that their concerns are addressed. However, we believe the right path and method must be chosen for that purpose,” Rouhani said.
“During the trilateral meeting of Iran, Russia, and Turkey, we clearly announced the only solution to establish security in northern borders of Syria and southern Turkey is the presence of the Syrian army,” the president told a cabinet session on Wednesday.
“We should prepare all the grounds for the presence of the Syrian army in these regions. Other countries should also help. The Americans must leave the region, and the Kurds stand by the Syrian army in this region, which is indeed their own country,” he added.
Rouhani said the path Turkey is treading today and the agreements reached behind the scenes do not serve the region’s interests.
“We want the friendly and brotherly country of Turkey and its government to show more patience and care in such affairs, and reconsider the path they have chosen,” he noted.
“We believe the path currently chosen is not an appropriate and good way for the region, because today we are in a condition where calm is a necessity for the region, and the displaced Syrians must return home as soon as possible,” Rouhani noted.
The president said the main issue today is not northern Syria and Eastern Euphrates. “Rather, the top problem in the region is Idlib, where all the terrorists have gathered.”
“We hope that regional countries contribute to [solving] the problem, and the Turkish government be more careful in this region so that we would not encounter any further problem in the region,” he added.
Turkey started its military incursion into northern Syria on Monday night, after the US in a major shift in its policy gave the green light to Ankara to launch the operation against Washington’s long-time Kurdish allies in northern Syria.
In a phone conversation on Monday, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu assured his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif that Ankara’s military operation in northern Syria is a temporary one.
Zarif, in turn, expressed Iran’s opposition to Turkey’s military action, and said the Adana Agreement is the best approach for Syria and Turkey to address their concerns.
Later on Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the country is closely monitoring the worrying reports about the possibility of Turkish military forces entering the Syrian territories.
“The Iranian Foreign Ministry believes such a move, in case of occurrence, would not only fail to address Turkey’s security concerns, but also will inflict heavy material and humanitarian damages,” it said in a statement.
“Accordingly, the Islamic Republic of Iran is opposed to any possible military operation,” it added.