Rouhani, Putin Slam Unauthorized Foreign Military Presence in Syria
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin expressed their countries' opposition to the presence of foreign forces in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government and nation.
Rouhani and Putin made their remarks during a telephone conversation on Tuesday, discussing a range of topics, mainly Syria.
"The Islamic Republic of Iran is opposed to the presence of foreign forces on Syrian soil without the permission of the [Arab] country's government and nation," Rouhani said.
Referring to renewed tensions in northern Syria, where Turkey has launched an unauthorized incursion, Rouhani said: "The continuance of tensions is in no one's interest, and we hope all regional countries would respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Syria," without naming Turkey.
Turkey launched the so-called Operation Olive Branch in Syria's northwestern city of Afrin on January 20 in a bid to eliminate the Kurdish People's Protection Units [YPG], which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers Party [PKK].
Turkey has warned that the Afrin offensive could expand to the nearby Syrian city of Manbij.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani underlined the importance of continued cooperation between Iran, Russia, and Turkey to fight terrorism and restore peace to Syria, saying that the joint efforts had to be reinforced until the final victory of the Syrian people.
A United States-led coalition, too, is operating in Syria without authorization from the Damascus government.
Russia and Iran have both been offering Syria advisory military help upon request from the Syrian government.
Putin, for his part, stressed that Moscow, like Tehran, believed that only the Syrian people had to decide the future of their country.
He raised the alarm about attempts by some extra-regional states to equip terrorists and disintegrate Syria and emphasized that any unauthorized foreign military presence in an independent country was direct interference in its affairs.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team