Iranian, Turkish FMs stress Syria's territorial integrity as Ankara opens offensive in northern Syria

Tehran, Oct 8, IRNA - Iran and Turkish foreign ministers held talks over Ankara’s ongoing attack in northern Syria.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif talked with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on the phone on Monday, discussing the latest attack by Turkish forces in northeastern Syria. 

Çavuşoğlu stressed that Turkey respects Syria’s territorial integrity and that the attack is only a temporary action. 

However, Zarif reiterated that Iran is against any military action in Syria and that Turkey should respect Syria’s territorial integrity while defeating terrorists. 

He noted that Adana agreement is the best solution for Turkey’s security concerns. 

The Adana agreement was signed between Turkey’s then-president Suleyman Demirel and Syria’s late President Hafez al Assad 21 years ago.

The deal ensured the PKK wouldn’t be supported by the Syrian state. 

Accusing Syria of not complying with the agreement, Ankara says it has to enter Syria to protect its borders from the PKK affiliate YPG. 

The People's Protection Units or People's Defense Units (YPG) is a mainly-Kurdish militia in Syria and the primary component of the Syrian Democratic Forces. 

The agreement is based upon Damascus recognizing the PKK as a terror organization and prohibiting all the group’s activities and its affiliated organizations in its territory.

“Syria, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity, will not permit any activity which emanates from its territory aimed at jeopardizing the security and stability of Turkey. Syria will not allow the supply of weapons, logistic material, financial support to and propaganda activities of the PKK on its territory,” one of the articles of the agreement said.

As a result of the deal, Damascus shut down PKK bases in Syria and expelled its leader Abdullah Ocalan, which paved the way for his capture by Turkey in 1999.

One of the articles of the deal also touches upon close security coordination between the two countries regarding the PKK. 

The 2017 Russia, Iran and Turkey-backed ceasefire talks in Astana were meant to complement the UN-backed peace and political transition talks in Geneva. The Astana trio agreed on de-escalation zones in a bid to stop violence. 

In a announcement late Sunday night, the White House said that United States forces in northern Syria would move aside in advance of a planned Turkish military offensive.

Following a phone call between US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the White House said that Turkey would soon begin a military offensive and the US forces would not be involved in the operation.

"Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria," a statement said. "The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial 'Caliphate,' will no longer be in the immediate area."

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