TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi described the Syrian army’s move to enter the key northern city of Manbij for the first time in six years as “a new step” to resolve the protracted crisis in the Arab country.

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“Emphasizing the need to respect the national sovereignty and the territorial integrity of Syria, the Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the rise of the Syrian national flag in the city of Manbij and regards it as an important step to consolidate the sovereignty of the legitimate government of Syria and a new step to resolve the crisis in the country,” Qassemi said in a statement on Friday.

Syria's army said Friday it had entered Manbij for the first time in years after a Kurdish militia called on Syrian forces to protect the area from the threat of a Turkish military incursion.

Syria's military command announced its forces had raised the Syrian flag in the city following what it described as an appeal by people in the area.

The statement, which was read out on Syrian state television, stressed the importance of "safeguarding national sovereignty" and reaffirmed the military's "determination to crush terrorism and defeat all invaders and occupiers."