Turkey operation must not harm Syria's sovereignty: Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri says Turkish military operations in Syria's northwestern region of Afrin must not harm the Arab country's territorial integrity, independence and national sovereignty.
According to Press TV, in a telephone conversation with Turkish Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar on Sunday, Baqeri said Turkey must give assurances that it does not covet any part of the Syrian soil.
Turkey launched "Operation Olive Branch," a new air and ground operation targeting the Afrin region, on Friday to oust the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara views as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The senior Iranian commander emphasized that such moves should not pave the way for the enemies of the Syrian nation and the Muslim world, particularly the United States and its allies, to exploit the situation to achieve their own goals.
"These military measures should not harm tripartite political negotiations and the Astana [peace] talks, which have so far managed to produce success," Baqeri said.
The Turkish chief of general staff, for his part, said his country's army carried out the military assault in Afrin in line with its right to legitimate defense.
Akar added that Turkey respected Syria's territorial integrity and would remain committed to agreements reached with Iran and Russia.
Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi said Tehran was closely monitoring Turkish military assault on Syria's Afrin, calling for the swift cessation of the operation in the Arab country to prevent the escalation of crisis in Turkey-Syria border areas.