Iran says NATO preparing ground for intervention in Syria

By Xinhua

TEHRAN, Oct. 6 (Xinhua) — Ali-Akbar Velayati, the senior advisor to Iran’s supreme leader said Saturday that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is preparing the ground for military intervention in Syria.

Velayati made the remarks in reference to the recent exchange of artillery fire between Syria and Turkey, said the report.

A Syrian artillery shell landed on the Turkish territory Saturday afternoon, some 1,200 meters from the Syrian border, an official statement from the Turkish side said.

“Turkish troops retaliated against Syria by firing two mortar shells on Saturday afternoon,” it added.

Earlier in the day, two Syrian artillery shells had landed inside Turkey, one at 7:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT) and the other 11:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT).

Turkey and Syria have been exchanging fire sporadically on the border for four days after a mortar shell from the Syrian side fell Wednesday in the Turkish border town of Akcakale in Sanliurfa province and killed five Turks.

Velayati, who formerly served as Iran’s foreign minister, said, “Today, NATO is ready to issue a threat against Syria and intends to enter Syria under the pretext that one of the members of this organization, the neighboring country, has been threatened.”

Certain Western countries are seeking to drag NATO into regional issues, he said, adding, “The West is digging a hole so that Turkey, Syria and the entire region will become stuck in it and the Islamic Awakening will be overshadowed. Regional countries, including Syria, Turkey and Iraq should remain vigilant because the United States and its allies have plots for regional countries. ”

Israel and its Western allies have hatched new plots against Syria and certain other regional countries, he was quoted as saying.

Velayati said that the first pretext provided by the West for interference in Syria’s internal affairs was that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responding to legitimate public demands.

“But when the West came to the conclusion that the people are supporters of the government, they decided to dispatch foreign mercenaries to Syria and also encouraged neighboring countries to support them,” Mehr quoted him as saying.

On Iran’s stance toward Syria, Velayati said, “We have helped and are helping (Syrian government) and will support Syria’s territorial integrity and the interests of the people and the government, provided that the reforms continue.”

On Saturday, Tehran Times daily quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast as saying that Iran has called on Syria and Turkey to exercise restraint amid mounting border tensions.

“Such incidents have no objective but to undermine friendship and brotherhood between the peoples of neighboring countries,” said Mehmanparast.

Iran will continue its “well-intentioned” efforts to resolve the problems facing Syria and believes that dialogue is the only solution to the current problems, said the spokesman.

Chairman of Iranian Armed Forces’ Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said Friday that Syria and Turkey should realize that the United States wants a war between the two Muslim countries, Press TV reported.

“This war is what the U.S. wants and the officials of the two countries (of Syria and Turkey) should move towards non- interference in each other’s affairs in order to see peace on the borders,” Firouzabadi was quoted as saying.

He noted that war cannot make up for the two countries’ mistakes and will only face both Syria and Turkey with major challenges.

The Iranian commander expressed hope that Turkish and Syrian officials would successfully weather this critical juncture as “no one wants to see war between two Muslim states.”

“There is always an opportunity for dialogue, but the flames of war burn all such opportunities,” said Firouzabadi.

 

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