‘Leave Syria,’ Iran tells Turkey; U.S. struggles to persuade warring allies to focus on ISIL

by WorldTribune Staff, August 31, 2016

Turkey’s military operation in Syria is a violation of that country’s sovereignty and the Turks should quickly complete their mission and get out, an Iranian official said on Aug. 30.

“Although the fight against terrorism… is a principle for all peace-seeking governments, it cannot and must not justify military operations on another country’s territory without coordination with its central government,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said.

Turkish soldiers drive a tank to Syria from the Turkish Syrian border city of Karkamis in the southern region of Gaziantep on Aug. 27. /AFP
Turkish soldiers drive a tank to Syria from the Turkish-Syrian border city of Karkamis on Aug. 27. /AFP

Turkey has said Syria was informed in advance of the operation by Russia.

Meanwhile, observers say the U.S. has failed in its effort to focus Turkey and its attacks in Syria on Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and not U.S.-backed Kurdish fighters.

Turkey on Aug. 31 denied it agreed to a U.S.-brokered truce with Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria, saying it would not compromise with what it labels a “terrorist” group.

“We do not accept in any circumstances … a compromise or a ceasefire reached between Turkey and Kurdish elements,” EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik told state-run Anadolu news agency.

“The Turkish republic is a sovereign, legitimate state,” Celik said, adding Turkey could not be put on an equal footing with a “terrorist organization,” referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Washington said on Aug. 30 that Turkey and the Kurdish YPG – both U.S. allies – had reached a “loose agreement” to stop fighting each other after deadly clashes over the weekend. Kurdish-backed militias said they had agreed to the truce.