TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Iranian Foreign Ministry, in a statement on Friday, warned against the consequences of military confrontation between Syria and Turkey in the Arab country’s northwestern province of Idlib, calling for efforts to de-escalate the tensions.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is closely monitoring the developments on the ground and the ongoing regional consequences in Idlib with sensitivity and stresses the need to manage the existing tense atmosphere and calm it as soon as possible,” the Foreign Minister said in the statement.
Referring to the previous decision of the leaders of countries participating in the Astana peace process to hold a summit in Iran on Syria, the ministry said it is continuing efforts to hold it at this critical juncture.
The statement also condemned some measures by third parties, especially the United States, to undermine the peace process, saying Washington has irresponsibly pursued tensions in the region and has explicitly stated that its military presence in Syria is aimed at plundering oil resources of the Arab country.
The remarks came as at least 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an air strike by Syrian government forces in Idlib as Turkey vowed “to respond in kind” with attacks on “all” their positions.
The rapid escalation of the conflict on Friday also threatened another refugee crisis as media reports cited Turkish officials as saying they “opened the gates” for Syrian refugees to transit unimpeded to Europe.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday that retaliatory attacks killed 309 Syrian troops.
“Turkish forces destroyed five Syrian regime choppers, 23 tanks, 10 armored vehicles, 23 howitzers, five ammunition trucks, a SA-17, a SA-22 air defense system as well as three ammunition depots,” Akar added.
Russia said Ankara failed to inform it that Turkish troops were fighting alongside rebels in Idlib – comments denied by Turkey.
“Turkish soldiers who were in the battle formations of terrorist groups came under the fire of Syrian troops,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.