Ankara-Moscow Deal on Syria a Positive Step Toward Peace
EghtesadOnline: The Iranian Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday that the deal between Turkey and Russia to end the conflict with Kurdish fighters in northern Syria is a "positive step" toward restoration of peace and stability in the region.
"We hope the deal will help address Turkey's security concerns on the one hand and protect Syria's territorial integrity and national sovereignty on the other," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a statement, ISNA reported.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched an offensive for carving out a "safe zone" cleared of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which Ankara considers a terrorist group, and for repatriating some of the 3.6 million refugees currently residing on its soil, according to Aljazeera.
This came after the United States, an ally of the Kurdish forces, pulled its troops out of Syria, Financial Tribune reported.
A US delegation later traveled to Ankara to pressure Turkey to halt its offensive. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed with US Vice President Mike Pence to suspend Ankara's operation for five days as of Oct. 18 to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw.
Hours before the expiry of the American-brokered truce, Erdogan held marathon talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Sochi, which led to a deal on joint action to resolve the crisis on Tuesday.
Based on the agreement, Russian military police and Syrian border guards will start removing the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which spearhead SDF, and their weapons 30 km away from the border area beginning on Wednesday noon. Once this is complete within 150 hours, Turkish and Russian forces will run joint patrols 10 km to the east and west of the zone.
"Iran welcomes any measure that would result in the preservation of [the countries'] territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and the restoration of peace and stability in the region," Mousavi said, in reference to the Ankara-Moscow deal.
He reiterated that Tehran always supports dialogue and peaceful solutions for resolving differences between countries and sees the Adana agreement as an appropriate platform for easing the concerns of Syria and Turkey.
"[Iran] will spare no effort to help promote dialogue and understanding between Ankara and Damascus," he said.
The Adana accord was signed in 1998 between the two neighbors and compelled Damascus to stop harboring Turkish-Kurdish rebels.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman also stressed that the presence of foreign forces in northern Syria will not contribute to regional security.
"The solution to regional problems is intra-regional and the withdrawal of American forces from the region will help restore peace and security," he said.