Only Syrian military can ensure security along Turkey border: Rouhani
President Hassan Rouhani has said that the Syrian military is the only power that can ensure security along the country's northern borders with Turkey.
“The solution to achieving security in Syria’s northern and Turkey's southern border region lies only in the presence of the Syrian military there,” President Rouhani said on Wednesday, Press TV reported.
He added that all sides involved needed to help set the sage for conditions that would allow the Syrian army’s presence in the region, adding that Iran had conveyed this position during talks with Russia and Turkey in Ankara last month.
The president added that security in the border region also required the withdrawal of American forces from the territory.
Rouhani further advised Kurdish forces in Syria to join forces with the Syrian military, stressing that Syria is their rightful homeland.
The comments come against the backdrop of Ankara’s decision to go forward with a planned offensive targeting the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria.
President Rouhani acknowledged Turkey’s legitimate concerns regarding security along its southern borders, but noted that behind-the-scene agreements “would not benefit the region.”
“We believe that a suitable path has to be chosen regarding this matter,” Rouhani said, adding, “We urge our friend Turkey and its government to pay more attention to such matters and reconsider the decision that has been made."
Rouhani further stressed that the planned Turkish operation was problematic at a time when the region needed calm and Syrian refugees sought to resettle in the country.
"Today, our main problem does not lie in northern Syria and east of the Euphrates River, but the foremost problem lies in the Idlib region where all the terrorists have gathered," Rouhani added.