DAMASCUS, Syria – Iran’s top diplomat on Saturday condemned Israel’s latest air strike on Syria and criticized recent threats from Turkey over another planned invasion of Ankara in northern Syria.
Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian’s statements came at the beginning of his visit to Syria, where he was expected to discuss mutual relations and regional affairs with top Syrian officials.
Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s strongest supporters and has sent thousands of fighters from across the region to help its troops in Syria’s 11-year conflict. The war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half of the country’s pre – war population of 23 million.
The Amirabdollahian’s visit came hours after Israel carried out an air strike on a Syrian coastal village near the Lebanese border, injuring two people, according to state media reports in Syria.
This aerial photo shows Turkey-backed Syrian fighters arriving to take part in a military exercise in the countryside in the northern city of Manbij, on June 2, 2022.
Turkey’s buffer zone
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently said he plans another major cross-border military incursion into Syria to create a 30-kilometer (19-mile) buffer zone along the Turkish border, and promises to fight US-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters for the territory. .
Erdogan’s 2019 attempt to create the buffer failed, even though Turkish troops are deployed in Syria following previous intrusions to support anti-Assad Syrian opposition fighters. Ankara sees US-allied Syrian-Kurdish fighters as terrorists allied with Kurdish insurgents within Turkey’s borders.
“We understand our neighbor Turkey’s concerns, but we oppose any military action in Syria,” Amirabdollahian said, adding that Iran was trying to resolve “the misunderstanding between Turkey and Syria through dialogue.”
Amirabdollahian met with Assad later on Saturday, telling the Iranian envoy that Turkey’s “pretexts to justify its aggression in Syria are false, misleading and have nothing to do with reality.” Assad’s office also quoted the president as saying that Turkey’s military presence in Syria violates international law.
Incirlic AFB, Turkey
Analysts have said that Erdogan is using the war in Ukraine to pursue his own goals in Syria. This week, Turkey agreed to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, saying the Nordic countries had agreed to crack down on groups that Ankara considers a threat to national security, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK. , and its Syrian extension.
Turkey has demanded that Finland and Sweden extradite wanted individuals and lift arms restrictions imposed on Ankara following Turkey’s military invasion of northeastern Syria in 2019.
Amirabdollahian condemned Israel for beating Syria. The attack on Saturday morning was the first since an air strike on June 10 at Damascus International Airport caused significant damage to the airport and rendered its main runway unusable. The airport was closed for two weeks for repairs before the flight resumed on June 23.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said Israeli fighter jets flying over northern Lebanon fired missiles at several chicken farms in the village of Hamidiyeh, south of the coastal city of Tartus. The attack occurred a few kilometers north of the border with Lebanon.
SANA said that two people, including a woman, were injured and that there was material damage.
Over the years, Israel has carried out hundreds of attacks on targets in Syria but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Israel says it is targeting bases for Iranian allied militias, such as the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group, which has troops deployed in Syria fighting alongside Assad’s government forces and ship weapons believed to be on their way to the militia.
The June strike against Damascus’ international airport strike marked a major escalation in Israel’s campaign, which further increased tensions between Israel on the one hand and Iran and Hezbollah on the other.