Syria says the Turkish president failed to achieve his “goals” during the summit with Iran and Russia, referring to Ankara’s efforts to rally support for a military operation in northern Syria.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi received his Russian and Turkish counterparts Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday as part of the “Astana Peace Process” ostensibly aimed at ending the 11-year-old conflict in Syria.
Iran and Russia are backing the Syrian government, while Turkey is backing rebel forces against the regime in a protracted war.
But Turkey is also vehemently opposed to a semi-autonomous Kurdish administration in Syria’s oil-rich northeast, and Mr. Erdogan recently repeatedly vowed to launch an offensive against Kurdish militants after the 2019 offensive.
(left to right) Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Source: AARP, Press Association / SalamPix/ABAKA
Erdogan said at the summit that Turkey will “continue” the fight against “terrorist organizations”, demanding the support of Russia and Iran.
A few hours after the end of the summit, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad was received in the Iranian capital Tehran by his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahyan.
Erdogan “had a lot of goals and policies that he wanted to impose at the meeting,” Mekdad said at a joint press conference on Wednesday.
These goals “were not achieved thanks to serious discussions and opinions put forward by Iranian and Russian friends.”
“Negotiations and consultations”
On Tuesday, the Turkish president was rebuked for his call for an offensive by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at a bilateral meeting.
Mr Khamenei told Mr Erdogan that any Turkish offensive against Syria would be “harmful” to the region and called for the issue to be resolved through dialogue between Ankara, Damascus, Moscow and Tehran.
Earlier, Moscow called on Ankara to “refrain” from attacking.
However, in a statement at the end of the summit, the three countries “rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground … including illegal self-government initiatives” and expressed their determination to confront separatist and “terrorist” groups. in Syria.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad (left) and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdulakhan during a joint press conference in Tehran, Iran, July 20, 2022. Source: AARP, EPA / Abedin Taherkenare
Ankara hopes to create a “safe zone” that will push Kurdish militants back 30 kilometers from the Turkish border.
Mr. Amir-Abdollahyan noted that his country will “continue negotiations and consultations with the Turkish and Syrian sides” regarding the threat of an offensive by Ankara.
Mr. Mekdad suggested that the move increases the risk of a Syrian-Turkish “conflict”.
“It is not profitable for Turkey or anyone other than Turkey to penetrate the Syrian borders and create safe areas, because this will create another conflict between Syria and Turkey,” he said.
“We are ready to defend our sovereignty, our security, our freedom and the freedom of our people, and this is something that cannot be denied.”
The Iranian foreign minister reiterated the demand for United States forces affiliated with the Kurdish administration to withdraw from areas east of the Euphrates, a call Khamenei made on Tuesday at a meeting with Putin.
“The presence of US military forces east of the Euphrates is one of the problems in the region,” said Amir-Abdollahyan, adding that “we believe that US forces should leave Syrian territory immediately and without preconditions.”
Mekdad called the US presence in Syria “illegal”.