News ID: 265510
Published: 1217 GMT February 11, 2020

Zarif: Escalation of tensions in Syria serves terrorists’ interests

Zarif: Escalation of tensions in Syria serves terrorists’ interests

National Desk

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned that further escalation of tensions in the war-torn Syria only serves interests of foreign-backed terrorists and their sponsors.

The top diplomat, in a Twitter message on Monday, reiterated Iran’s readiness to facilitate dialogue between Syria and Turkey which recently had military confrontation in Syria’s terrorist-held province of Idlib.

“Escalation of tensions only serves interests of terrorists and their sponsors,” Zarif wrote.

He added that, “Avoidance of bloodshed and respect for sovereignty & territorial integrity is imperative.”

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), according to Press TV.

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.

Zarif’s remarks came amid fears of a large-scale confrontation between Ankara and Damascus as the Syrian government has been advancing against foreign-backed terrorists 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.

On Tuesday, Syrian forces also seized control of a highway in northwest Syria for the first time since 2012 as they pressed their campaign to eradicate the last terrorist strongholds in Idlib Province and the Aleppo countryside, according to Reuters.

In Ankara, talks between Turkey and Russian ended without agreement on stopping clashes in which 13 Turkish soldiers have been killed in Syria in one week.

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 terrorists in Idlib on August 5 last year.

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

Under the Sochi agreement, all terrorists 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 terrorist groups having to withdraw two days earlier.

Turkey has set up a dozen observation points in Idlib to uphold the cease-fire reached between Moscow and Ankara.

 

   
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