Iran accuses Turkey of prolonging civil war in Syria
ANKARA - Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. AFP PhotoIran has accused Turkey of prolonging the three-year conflict in neighboring Syria by insisting on President Bashar al-Assad’s overthrow and supporting “terrorist groups,” the official IRNA news agency has reported.
Tehran and Ankara back opposing sides in the civil war, which pits rebel forces including radical Sunni Muslim fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against Assad, Tehran’s closest regional ally.
“Ankara’s interference in Syrian internal affairs has unfortunately resulted in prolonging the war and extensive deaths of innocent Syrian civilians,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying.
“The crisis in Syria could have ended three years ago if Turkish officials stopped demanding regime change and supporting terrorist groups in Syria,” the official said.
The comments appeared to be a response to remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was quoted by Turkish media on Oct. 27 accusing Iran of playing on Syria’s sectarian divisions.
“When we have bilateral meetings with Iran, they agree on solving this issue together. When it comes to action, unfortunately, they have their own way of working,” Erdoğan was quoted as saying.