The Iranian Foreign Ministry has reported clear points of disagreement with Turkey over the Syrian issue, since 2011.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Saeed Khatibzadeh, said at his weekly press conference that Turkish-Iranian relations are strategic, very stable, and historic, while at the same pinpointing points of disagreement with Turkey over Syria.
He added that the two sides have “a clear controversial issue regarding Syria. We tried to manage this dispute through the Astana talks,” adding: “What is clear to us is the territorial integrity of the region’s countries and the international borders in Syria and Iraq.”
The Iranian official did not specify the points of contention with Turkey in detail but alluded to Turkey’s military operations inside Syrian and Iraqi territory, as well as its support for opposition factions against regime forces in northern Syria.
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Iran has supported Assad’s forces since the Syrian revolution against the regime began in 2011, while Turkey has taken a stand in support of the Syrian opposition and supported it politically and militarily.
However, Turkish-Iranian relations have seen convergences on the Syrian issue, particularly through the Astana talks, which are considered the longest in terms of political tracks related to the Syrian issue. Its first round began in early 2017, after the eastern Aleppo areas were subjected to regime control, and reached 17 rounds to date.
One of the most prominent realizations of its “guarantor states” are the “de-escalation” areas, which Assad’s forces have taken full control of, except for the Idleb governorate. It is the fourth “de-escalation” area and is subject to continued violations that have claimed hundreds of civilian casualties.
Iran present in Idleb
Tehran adheres to the Astana process, of which it is a key party, unlike the Sochi agreements, which are limited to the Russian and Turkish sides.
Adhering to Astana would give Tehran a foothold in the areas of influence in northern Syria, especially in the Idleb governorate. There, Turkish forces are deployed in the areas of influence of the opposition factions, and Russian forces are in areas controlled by Assad’s forces.
Iran fears Turkish rapprochement with Israel, following a visit to Turkey by the Israeli president in March, in an attempt by Israel to reduce Iranian influence in the region, particularly in southern Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.