Russia-Turkey tension unfavorable: Iran official
A senior Iranian official describes as “unfavorable” the ongoing row between Russia and Turkey over Ankara’s downing of a Russian jet, expressing hope that the two countries would move to defuse tensions.
“The generation of tensions between Turkey and Russia is by no means proper and is not favored by us and we hope that this tensions would be reduced and the two countries opt for good neighborliness,” Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign affairs’ adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with Iran’s IRNN news network on Sunday.
Velayati made the remarks after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in the Syrian capital, Damascus.
On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M jet inside Syria, claiming that the aircraft violated the Turkish airspace. Russia rejects Turkey’s claim. The aircraft was on a mission targeting terrorists in Syria.
The aircraft’s two pilots ejected as it was going down in flames. One of them was killed by militants in Syria, while the second was picked up by the Syrian army.
Velayati said Russia’s air campaign in Syria against terrorist groups is based on a request from the “legitimate” government of Syria.
Russia began its military campaign against terrorists in Syria on September 30 upon a request from the Damascus government, shortly after the upper house of the Russian parliament gave President Putin the mandate to use military force in Syria.
Defense officials in Moscow say the operation has been a success as hundreds of militants have been forced to retreat from their positions while major arms depots, training camps and command posts belonging to the terrorists have been destroyed in the attacks.
Elsewhere, Velayati described as Israeli plots the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, reaffirming the Islamic Republic’s support for anti-Israeli resistance groups, including Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and the Syrian government troops.
Velayati, who also heads the Center for Strategic Research of Iran’s Expediency Council, further dismissed any military solution to the Syrian crisis, saying that the conflict should be settled via dialogue between Syrian sides.
“Syria’s problem has no military solution but it can be solved through political dialog and Syrian-Syrian talks,” he said, criticizing those who have “nurtured terrorists by providing them with financial and military support.”
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people so far and displaced millions.