MESOP BACKGROUNDER: Tehran Tries to Shift Turkey Over Syria’s Conflict

29 Sept 2016 – by Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Iran has made another attempt to shift Turkey’s position over the Syrian conflict, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visiting Ankara on Tuesday. – The Iranian Foreign Ministry said Zarif and Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim agreed on cooperation towards a ceasefire and delivery of humanitarian aid. “There is a political will to this end,” Zarif declared.

However, there was a notable absence of Syria in Yildirim’s statement, as reported by Iranian media. Instead, the Prime Minister spoke of expansion of bilateral ties with Iran in sectors such as energy, trade, transport, and communications.

Zarif also had discussions with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. – The Iranian Foreign Minister also visited Turkey last month, as Tehran and Russia — the two main backers of Syria’s Assad regime — tried to detach Ankara from support of the Syrian opposition and rebels. The initiative also included a trip by Turkish Prime Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Moscow to see Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Less than two weeks after Zarif’s visit, Turkey made its first military intervention into Syria, accompanying rebels in the north with airstrikes, tanks, and special forces.

The Turkish-rebel offensive has secured a 55-km (34-mile) strip along the border against the Islamic State. It also advanced to the south against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces before halting, apparently after US political intervention.