In an attempt to prevent war between Syria and Turkey, Iran seriously urges the two countries to exercise restraint following cross-border tensions.
On Wednesday (October 3), an artillery shell launched from Syrian territory fell in the yard of a house in a Turkish town of Akcakale in southern Turkey killing five civilians, all women and children, and injuring several others.
In response, Turkey attacked the Syrian region from which the shell had presumably been launched. Syria government told the United Nations that two of its soldiers had been injured in retaliatory shelling launched overnight by Turkey against a military base near the Syrian town of Tal Abyad.
Later, Turkey’s parliament sanctioned further military action against Syria on Thursday and bombarded targets across the border with artillery for a second day, raising the stakes in a conflict that increasingly is bleeding outside Syrian territory.
But, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erodgan has repeatedly stated that parliament’s decision on Thursday was not a mandate for war, signaling his intent to avoid a full-scale military confrontation.
Speaking in the town of Akcakale, where the shelling occurred, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said “We want peace and security and nothing else. We would never want to start a war.”
But he added “the Turkish Republic is a state capable of defending its citizens and borders. Nobody should try and test our determination on this subject.”
On the other hand, Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said “the Syrian government is not seeking any escalation (of the conflict) with any of its neighbors, including Turkey.”
Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said the Assad regime sent its “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims, but stopped short of an apology, pending the outcome of the investigation. He also urged Turkey to act “wisely, rationally” and prevent infiltration of “terrorists and insurgents” and the smuggling of arms across the border.
To ease the tensions, the UN Security Council on Thursday unanimously condemned “in the strongest terms” Syria’s shelling of a Turkish town of Akcakale that killed five people, but called for restraint from both Ankara and Damascus.
In the press statement, which needed approval from all 15 council members, the U.N.’s most powerful body said the incident “highlighted the grave impact the crisis in Syria has on the security of its neighbors and on regional peace and stability.”
The council demanded an immediate end to such violations of international law and called on the Syrian government “to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors.”
Likewise, earlier on Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed alarm at the escalating border tensions and warned that the risks of regional conflict and the threat to international peace is increasing, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
The U.N. chief called on all parties “to abandon the use of violence, exercise maximum restraint and exert all efforts to move toward a political solution,” he said.
Also, Iran, as the dominant power in the Middle East, attempts to ease the tensions by calling both sides to exercise restraint.
In an attempt to avoid further conflicts between Syria and Turkey, First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi held common talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the sideline of his visit to Turkey to further broaden economic cooperation between the two countries.
“We have no intention of starting a war with Syria,” Erdogan said in a joint press conference with the visiting Mohammad Reza Rahimi in Ankara on Thursday.
Turkey is not a warmongering country while we have witnessed the consequences of warmongering policies near our borders in Iraq and Afghanistan, he added.
Moreover, stressing that the war between Syria and Turkey is not to the benefit of Islam and Muslims, Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Seyyed Hassan Firouzabadi said “there is always opportunity to dialogue, but the fire of war will burn the opportunities.”
Referring to the borderline conflict between Turkey and Syria, Gen. Firouzabadi stated that such tensions only serve the interests of the United States and urged the two countries not to interfere in each other’s affairs in order to maintain peace in the borders.
Iranian Armed Forces Chief of Staff considered the NATO’s presence in the region a threat to Turkey and affirmed that the West has hoped to face Turkey with challenges and divide the front line of Islam and Muslims against them.
Analysts say that Iran attempts to prevent a war between Turkey and Syria, or NATO’s response to Syria in any way, because in case of war, invasion to Syria regime will be justified.