Terrorist presence in Syria ‘cause of concern’: Iran

Iran's foreign minister holds talks with his Syrian counterpart in Tehran.

Terrorist presence in Syria ‘cause of concern’: Iran

Iran's foreign minister said Wednesday the presence of armed terrorist groups in neighboring Syria is a "cause of concern" for Tehran and its allies in the region.

Hossein Amir-Abdollahian made the remarks in a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad in Tehran following their delegation-level talks.

The top diplomat said the participants at the seventh summit of the Astana Format on Syria in Tehran on Tuesday used the opportunity to discuss clearing the Arab country of these terrorist groups while preserving its territorial integrity.

He noted that the Astana Format signatory states are working to resolve Türkiye’s security concerns on the common border with Syria, referring to the presence of terrorist groups in northern Syria.

Mekdad arrived in the Iranian capital on Wednesday morning, a day after the leaders of Iran, Türkiye and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to a political resolution of the Syrian crisis.

In a joint statement following their tripartite talks, Iran's Ebrahim Raisi, Türkiye's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Russia's Vladimir Putin condemned the increasing presence and activities of terrorist groups in various parts of the war-ravaged Arab country.

They rejected what they termed "attempts to create new realities on the ground" under the pretext of fighting terrorism, including "illegitimate self-rule initiatives," according to a joint statement issued after the meeting.

They also reaffirmed their resolve to stand against "separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and threatening the national security of neighboring countries," including through cross-border attacks and infiltrations.

The three leaders asserted that security and stability in the region can only be achieved through preservation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and agreed that there can be "no military solution to the Syrian conflict.”
In his remarks, the Turkish leader pointed to the security threat posed by the PKK terrorist group, describing the terrorism of groups such as PKK, PYD, and YPG as a "common issue for all.”

"As Türkiye, we do not see any difference between terrorist organizations. Our fight against terrorist organizations will always continue regardless of where and by whom they are supported," he stated.

Acknowledging Türkiye's security concerns stemming from the presence of terrorist groups in northern Syria, the Iranian foreign minister said in the joint presser with his Syrian counterpart that Tuesday's meeting focused on the political solution to Ankara's security concerns.

He said the seventh edition of the Ankara Format talks "tried to bring views of Syria and Türkiye closer together,” describing the talks as "clear, concise and frank."

Amir-Abdollahian further stressed that all sides must help Syria come out of the protracted crisis while adding that participation in Syria's reconstruction and facilitating the safe return of Syrian refugees were among the issues discussed with Mekdad on Wednesday.

He also accused the United States of "colonizing oil wells" in eastern Syria, stressing that the Americans must leave Syria "immediately and unconditionally."