MESOP REPORT : Tehran Hosts Turkish FM for Talks on Syria & Iraq

November 27 – MESOP  – Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saw President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday. No details were given of the discussions beyond Iran State media’s brief statement that “officials of the two countries are looking for solutions and seeking to draw closer their points of views, especially on Iraq and Syria”.

Rouhani said, according to his website:Consultation between Iran and Turkey is beneficial to peace and stability in the region and more Tehran-Ankara cooperation in current critical circumstances of the region will contribute a lot to resolving the issues.

If major regional powers cooperate, the issues in Iraq and Syria will be resolved without needing foreign powers. But what is important today, is that neighbouring countries can play their constructive role in resolving regional issues.Rouhani maintained that the objectives were “preserving territorial integrity and national unity in Iraq and Syria, forming governments based on democracy and people’s viewpoints, preventing killing of people and destruction of infrastructures, and helping refugees and the injured to go back to their homes”.

In Syria, Iran has been putting in ground forces and leading foreign militias, alongside Russian airstrikes, to try and break opposition resistance in the northwest of the country. The intervention has helped established a siege on opposition-held areas of eastern Aleppo city, where pro-Assad forces are finally advancing after more than four years.

Meanwhile, Turkey intervened with airstrikes, tanks, and special forces in late August, supporting a rebel offensive to take parts of northern Syria from the Islamic State. However, the Turkish-rebel move on ISIS’s main position in Aleppo Province, the town of al-Bab, faces possible competition from pro-Assad forces.

Last week Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the situation with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, following the first Assad regime airstrike on the Turkish-rebel force.

In Iraq, both sides have concerns about an Iraqi-Kurdish offensive seizing to recapture Iraq’s second city from the Islamic State. Iran is concerned that it has been pushed to the side in the effort, while a US-led coalition supports the assault. The Iraqi Government has warned Turkey against joining the offensive.