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Iran's Zarif to Turkey: We oppose military operation in north Syria

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu [AFP/Getty]

Date of publication: 8 October, 2019

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Iran's foreign minister Javad Zarif spoke to his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu as Turkey prepares to launch a military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria
Iran's top diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif told his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu in a phone call that Tehran is opposed to military action in Syria, the foreign ministry said.

"Zarif voiced opposition to military action" and "urged respect for Syria's territorial integrity and national sovereignty," Zarif was quoted as saying in a statement issued late on Monday.

The Iranian foreign minister also "stressed the need for the fight against terrorism and for the establishment of stability and security in Syria".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday that Turkey was poised to , after US President Donald Trump gave him the green light.

Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from the region has faced strong criticism in the US, including from his own allies who have accused him of turning his back on Kurds who took heavy casualties in the US-backed campaign against the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

President Trump on Monday justified his decision, saying the region would have to "figure the situation out" and that America needed to get out of "ridiculous Endless Wars".

In their phone call, Zarif told Cavusoglu that the Adana agreement was "the best approach for Syria and Turkey and for addressing their concerns".

Ankara and Damascus signed the agreement in 1998 to ease tensions after Turkey threatened Syria with military action if it did not expel Turkish-Kurdish rebel leader Abdallah Ocalan from its soil.

For his part, Cavusoglu said the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria "would be temporary", according to the statement from the Iranian foreign ministry.

Erdogan has expressed Ankara's determination to clear the Syrian border area east of the Euphrates river of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

Syria Weekly: Deal or no deal between Turkey and the US?

Turkey says the YPG is a "terrorist offshoot" of Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The United States worked closely with the YPG to recapture swathes of territory from IS.

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