Iran 'understands' Turkey's need for Syria campaign

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned over the past few weeks that he may soon launch a new offensive

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expects Turkey's allies to 'understand and respect' his proposed military campaign in Syria. AFP
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Iranian Foreign Minister Hossain Amirabdollahian indicated on Monday that Tehran would not oppose any new Turkish military operation against Kurdish militias in Syria.

"We understand Turkey's security concerns very well," Mr Amirabdollahian said after talks in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"We understand that … maybe a special operation might be needed. Turkey's security concerns must be tackled fully and permanently."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned over the past few weeks that he might soon launch a new offensive in Syria against Kurdish fighters waging an insurgency against Turkey.

These include the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which were a crucial part of an international coalition against ISIS.

Washington and Moscow have called for restraint from Turkey.

But Mr Erdogan has said he expects Turkey's allies to "understand and respect" the proposed military campaign.

He said on Monday that the offensive would begin "as soon as our preparations are finished".

Iran is a major ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and an important trading partner for Turkey.

The two sides' relations were hit this month by the arrest of eight people who Turkey claimed worked for an Iranian assassination team looking for Israeli targets in Istanbul.

The two ministers did not directly address the arrests in their prepared remarks.

Turkey has launched offensives in Syria since 2016 against Kurdish militias, ISIS and forces loyal to Mr Al Assad.

Updated: June 21, 2023, 8:04 AM