Iran condemns air strike and opposes Turkish entry into Syria

Damascus, Syria –

Iran’s foreign minister on Saturday condemned an Israeli airstrike in Syria earlier in the day and said Tehran opposes any military operation by Turkey in northern Syria.

Hossein Amirabdollahian made his remarks at the start of a visit to the Syrian capital Damascus, where he was expected to discuss mutual relations and regional issues with senior Syrian officials.

Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s strongest supporters, sending thousands of fighters from across the region to help his troops in Syria’s 11-year conflict. The war has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced half of the country’s pre-war population of 23 million.

Amirabdollahian’s visit came hours after Israel carried out an airstrike on a Syrian coastal village near the Lebanese border, wounding two people, Syrian state media reported.

It also comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly said he is planning a major military operation to create a 30-kilometre-deep buffer zone inside Syria along the border with Turkey. He said he would do so through a cross-border raid against US-allied Syrian Kurdish fighters, an attempt that failed in 2019.

“We understand the concerns of our neighbor Turkey, but we oppose any military action in Syria,” Amirabdollahian said, adding that Iran is trying to resolve the “misunderstanding between Turkey and Syria through dialogue.”

Analysts have said that Erdogan is taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to further his own goals in Syria. Turkey agreed this week to lift its opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO, saying the Nordic nations have agreed to crack down on groups Ankara sees as threats to national security, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. , and its Syrian extension.

Turkey has demanded that Finland and Sweden extradite wanted individuals and lift weapons restrictions imposed after Turkey’s 2019 military incursion into northeastern Syria.

Amirabdollahian criticized Israel saying that through its airstrikes it is trying to destabilize Syria and show that the country lacks security.

Israel’s attack was the first since the June 10 airstrike on the international airport in the Syrian capital of Damascus that caused significant damage to infrastructure and runways and disabled the main runway. The airport was closed for two weeks and flights resumed on June 23.

The state news agency SANA said Israeli warplanes flying over northern Lebanon fired missiles at several chicken farms in the village of Hamidiyeh, south of the coastal city of Tartus. The attack occurred a few kilometers north of the border with Lebanon.

SANA said two people, including a woman, were injured and there was property damage.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes against targets in Syria over the years, but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Israel says it is targeting the bases of Iran-allied militias such as Hezbollah, which has fighters deployed in Syria fighting on the side of Assad’s government forces and is sending weapons believed to be destined for the militias.

The attack on Damascus International Airport marked a major escalation in Israel’s campaign, further raising tensions between Israel on the one hand and Iran and its Lebanese ally, the militant group Hezbollah, on the other.


Associated Press reporter Bassem Mroue in Beirut contributed.

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