“The military presence of US forces in the East of the Euphrates is one of the problems that the region suffers from,” Amir Abdollahian said at a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad on Wednesday.
The Iranian foreign minister noted that the East of the Euphrates is one of Syria’s energy reserves.
“In recent years, we have witnessed the looting of Syria’s natural resources in this part, where the presence of the American occupation has shaped the situation there,” he stressed.
“We believe that US military forces should be unconditionally and urgently withdrawn from Syria,” he added.
“Iran is continuously talking and consulting with Turkey and Syria,” he said, adding that last night, an attempt was made to resolve the concerns of the Turkish authorities regarding the security of the common border between the two countries.
Referring to the 7th Astana Troika summit held last night in Tehran, Amir Abdollahian stated that considering the sensitive situation in which Syria is now and the possibility of a new conflict in the border areas of Syria, the summit tried to help Syria to be away from war and militarism.
“The summit also tried to resolve the Syrian political issues,” the foreign minister continued.
“We hope that these recommendations, which were emphasized by the heads of countries participating in the Astana summit, will be taken into consideration by the officials of the friendly country of Turkey and that Turkey and Syria will pass this stage well,” Amir Abdollahian underlined.
“Regarding the issue of Syria, the presence of armed and terrorist groups in some areas of this country is a cause of concern for us and our allies in the region. We used the opportunity of the tripartite meeting to take a step forward in the issue of the withdrawal and cleansing of terrorist and armed groups from Syria and the return of security across the borders of Syria by maintaining the territorial integrity of this country,” the top diplomat underscored.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Amir Abdollahian emphasized the importance of maintaining territorial integrity and respect for Syrian sovereignty and resolving the remaining issues in the field of terrorist conflicts in Syria and some of Turkey’s concerns about the presence of some groups in Syria and noted that fighting terrorism and protecting the rights of the people of this country, far from foreign interference, is at the top of Iran’s priorities.
The minister went on to say that participating in rebuilding Syria and encouraging Syrian refugees to return to their homes was an important topic discussed in last night’s summit and in his meeting with Mekdad which was held earlier on Wednesday.
The Syrian foreign minister, for his part, said Damascus “will not allow any party to enter the Syrian territories”, adding that it is not beneficial for Ankara or any country except Turkey to enter the borders of Syria.
Mekdad also appreciated Iran’s efforts in the final statement, which emphasized the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Syria.
“We had experiences in this field during which the Turkish economy witnessed prosperity and also the Syrian economy witnessed similar leaps, but interference in internal affairs and sending hundreds of thousands of terrorists to Syria stopped these relations, which prevented the development of relations, and this is what the US and the Israeli regime want. We are ready to defend the freedom of our nation and we will not fail to do so,” Mekdad stressed.
Criticizing the US government’s move in plundering the Syrian wealth, the Syrian top diplomat noted, “We are ready for coordination between Arab countries and cooperation with friends and allies, especially Iran, to reach peaceful solutions. This is what Western countries are against because they impose sanctions against Iran, the Syrian nation, and Russia. Today’s world is interconnected.”
Since 2011, Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy, as a result of which Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL) and other terrorist groups emerged in the country.
At Damascus’ request, Iran has been providing military advisory support to the Syrian military in its counterterrorism operations. Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign in Syria, similarly in coordination with Damascus, since September 2015 to further boost the military’s anti-terror performance.
Turkey has been conducting several incursions against neighboring Syria’s Northern parts since 2016 to fight back against Kurdish militants known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Ankara associates the YPG with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, which has been fighting a deadly separatist war against Turkey for decades.
Damascus complaints that the Turkish offensive violates Syria’s territorial integrity.