Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that the Syrian military is the only power that can ensure security along the country’s northern borders with Turkey.
“The solution to achieving security in Syria’s northern and Turkey’s southern border region lies only in the presence of the Syrian military there,” President Rouhani said on Wednesday.
He added that all sides involved needed to help set the sage for conditions that would allow the Syrian army’s presence in the region, adding that Iran had conveyed this position during talks with Russia and Turkey in Ankara last month.
The Iranian president added that security in the border region also required the withdrawal of American forces from the territory.
Rouhani further advised Kurdish forces in Syria to join forces with the Syrian military, stressing that Syria is their rightful homeland.
The comments come against the backdrop of Ankara’s decision to go forward with a planned offensive targeting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.
Turkey considers the YPG to be a terrorist organization and an extension of the PKK, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.
The US has effectively granted Turkey the greenlight to attack the YPG by withdrawing its troops from Syria’s Kurdish-controlled border region with Turkey.
President Rouhani acknowledged Turkey’s legitimate concerns regarding security along its southern borders, but noted that behind-the-scene agreements “would not benefit the region.”
“We believe that a suitable path has to be chosen regarding this matter,” Rouhani said, adding, “We urge our friend Turkey and its government to pay more attention to such matters and reconsider the decision that has been made.”
Rouhani further stressed that the planned Turkish operation was problematic at a time when the region needed calm and Syrian refugees sought to resettle in the country.
“Today, our main problem does not lie in northern Syria and east of the Euphrates River, but the foremost problem lies in the Idlib region where all the terrorists have gathered,” Rouhani added.
The Turkish government has played a major role in supporting various terrorist groups that sought to topple Syrian President, Bashar al-Assad, since the start of the militancy eight years ago.
Following the gradual Syrian victories over recent years, however, terrorist forces were forced to withdraw to the northwestern province of Idlib, which borders Turkey.
Damascus has vowed to cleanse all of Syria from terrorists and foreign-backed forces.