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Syria no-fly zone, repeat blunder, says Iran diplomat

19 February 2016 18:25



A senior Iranian official has criticized Germany-backed Turkish initiative for a no-fly zone in Syria, saying such a measure would be the continuation of previous mistakes.

“Undoubtedly, rehashing the notion of a no-fly zone [in Syria] will fail to help security and stability in the region,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told IRIB on Friday.

He added that the issue of Syria, which has affected security in the entire Middle East region, should be settled only through political solutions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 17 denounced the humanitarian situation in Syria as “unacceptable” and renewed her call for a no-fly zone in the war-stricken country. The idea of no-fly zone was first raised by Turkey.

Merkel’s suggestion came in the context of an agreement reached at the Munich Security Conference (MSC) last week.

On Thursday, a source in the Syrian Foreign Ministry told the country’s official news agency, SANA, that the government flatly rejects proposals for a no-fly zone.

The Syrian government “completely rejects” such proposals as they “constitute a violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and contravene the rules of the international law and the UN Charter,” SANA cited the source as saying.

“The aim of these statements would only lead to prolonging the crisis in Syria instead of contributing to finding a solution,” it added.

Amir-Abdollahian further lashed out at certain countries involved in Syria peace talks, but they are actually pursuing the “incorrect military approach” for the war-hit country.

He underscored the importance of controlling border areas in Syria’s neighboring states and preventing the inflow of terrorists to find a political solution to the crisis.

“We support the delivery of humanitarian aid and implementation of a ceasefire all across Syria except for regions where terrorists are present,” the Iranian diplomat said.

He warned that the “continued use of terrorism” as a pretext for intervention in Syria, Yemen and Iraq would further undermine regional security and stability.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a new report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

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