Russia to Contain Iranian-Turkish Dispute in Syria

Russia to Contain Iranian-Turkish Dispute in Syria

Thursday, 8 February, 2018 - 06:30
Cavusoglu with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran/Tasnim news agency
Moscow, Ankara, Beirut - Moscow, Ankara, Beirut
Russia on Wednesday warned both the Turkish and Iranian sides about the need to bypass their disputes sparked by Ankara’s ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in the northern Syrian district of Afrin.

The dispute between both sides was the main subject of talks held between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani over a telephone conversation last Tuesday.

“The current contacts between Tehran and Ankara were encouraged by Moscow, that interfered to contain the escalating disputed between both sides,” a Russian diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The Kremlin on Wednesday did not rule out holding a summit between presidents of the three countries “if needed.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu paid a surprise visit to the Iranian capital Tehran on Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources in Ankara told Asharq Al-Awsat that Cavusoglu’s visit aims to dissipate Tehran’s angers after Turkish forces clashed with some forces present in the Syrian regime-controlled areas near Afrin and Idlib, pushing Iran to call on Turkey to stop its ongoing “Operation Olive Branch” in northern Syria.

The sources confirmed that Ankara hopes to keep its coordination with Iran, which signed with Russia and Turkey a memorandum on setting up de-escalation zones in Syria, entered into force on May 6, 2017.
“The Turkish military operations in Syria were discussed during Cavusoglu’s visit,” the sources added.

In Syria, regime forces continued on Wednesday to pound the besieged areas of eastern Ghouta near the capital, Damascus, raising the number of casualties to more than 100 in two days.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that regime forces launched 22 airstrikes on Ghouta Wednesday, a day considered one of the bloodiest in Syria.

He added that the total number of casualties caused by Wednesday’s attacks is considered the largest in the ranks of civilians in Syria since nine months.

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