Iran reiterates readiness to mediate between Turkey and Syria

February 11, 2020 - 17:50

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said Iran is steadfast in its readiness to mediate between Turkey and Syria which have been engaged in sporadic military conflicts in Syria’s northwest.

“Iran reiterates its readiness to facilitate dialogue among brother neighbors #Turkey & #Syria,” Zarif tweeted on Monday.

He added, “Escalation of tensions only serves interests of terrorists and their sponsors. Avoidance of bloodshed and respect for sovereignty & territorial integrity is imperative.”

Five Turkish soldiers were killed on Monday in an attack carried out by Syrian government forces in Syria's northwest.

The Turkish Defense Ministry said Monday's shelling on a military base in Idlib province wounded a further five troops. 

Eight Turkish military personnel were killed in a similar attack on Saraqeb, south of Taftanaz.  

Al Jazeera's Sinem Koseoglu said, "This is seen as the highest escalation that has ever happened between Ankara and Damascus in Syria's nine-year war."

Ankara has sent major reinforcements to Idlib, as it tries to stem rapid advances by Syrian government forces. 

According to al Jazeera, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a statement immediately that it had responded and "neutralized" more than 100 enemy targets.

The most recent attack came as a Russian delegation arrived in Ankara for further talks on fighting in Syria. 

Turkey backs some of the opposition groups that have made Idlib their final stronghold.

Zarif’s proposal to mediate between Syria and Turkey came a few days after Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Tehran’s ambassador to the United Nations, said Iran is ready to do its best to settle the conflicts between Turkey and Syria in Idlib province.

“Iran is ready to do its best to settle differences between Damascus and Ankara over developments in Idlib province,” he said in a meeting at the United Nations Security Council.

“Situation in the region is worrisome, so, we must try to prevent the crisis from being uncontrollable,” he said.

Highlighting the Sochi agreement over the situation in Idlib, Takht-Ravanchi said, “The Astana meeting underlined the importance of the Sochi agreement.”


NA/PA

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