Tehran summit clincher for Turkish military operation in Syria – politician

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The trilateral summit that is bringing Russia, Iran and Turkey together in Tehran on Tuesday will be the clincher for the possible Turkish military operation in northern Syria, said Bassam al-Bunni, Syrian politician specialized in Russian affairs.

The Russian-Iranian-Turkish summit is being held in Tehran within the framework of Astana Peace Talks, which will be held on July 20 and 21.

The Syrian crisis tops the agenda that will be discussed during the summit, amid expectations that Turkey will try to win a green light to launch its potential military operation on northern Syria.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently announced plans to carry out another major military cross-border incursion into northern Syria. Erdogan specified his targets in the two northern Syrian cities of Manbij and Tel Rifaat.

On July 1, Erdogan said that Ankara’s new military operation in northern Syria could begin at any moment. 

“I always say that we can start [the incursion] at any moment at night. We should not worry and rush, especially since we are working in the area,” Erdogan told reporters after returning from the NATO summit in Madrid.

In an interview with North Press, al-Bunni said that Iran and Russia will convince Turkey of the futility of launching this operation, because it will strain the fronts in the ceasefire zone that the three guarantor countries [Russia- Iran –Turkey] have long sought in Astana Peace Talks. 

“Astana platform was created for a ceasefire, so how can Turkey carry out a military operation, in violation of all the agreements reached during this platform, in addition to the Sochi Agreement,” al-Bunni noted. 

Both Syrian government forces and Turkish army keep sending military reinforcements to the front lines in Manbij and Tel Rifaat. 

The politician believes that there will be attempts, during today’s summit, to convince Turkey to start talks with the Syrian government, in order to activate the Adana Agreement to ensure strategic security or Turkish national security.

The Adana Agreement was concluded between Turkey and Syria on October 20, 1998 in the Turkish city of Adana and included the following points: Syria would not permit any activity which was deemed as “jeopardizing the security and stability” of Turkey.”

Under the Adana agreement, Turkey has the right to enter up to 5km (3 miles) inside the border with Syria – but they cannot remain for long.

“Washington and Moscow differ in everything except on this point, which is that Turkey should not take military action that threatens the security of the region,” he added.

Al-Bunni further explained that Turkey understands the Iranian-Russian concerns, and therefore it will retreat from any military action to preserve the common interests of the three countries.

Russia and Iran have always expressed their understanding of Turkey’s security concerns, according to previous statements by officials of the two countries.

“Based on the understandings, there is possibility of activating Adana Agreement through communication between Damascus and Ankara in order to preserve Turkish strategic security,” al-Bunni noted.

He concluded that by thus all parties would have the same understanding regarding the Turkish security concerns and preserving the Syrian sovereignty, in addition to other points.

Reporting by Fansa Temmo