Ayatollah Khatami warns Turkey of ‘quagmire’ in northern Syria

MNA – Tehran’s provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami described Turkey’s so-called Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria as an ‘aggression’, asking Ankara to withdraw forces from Syria.

“Turkey’s measure is an aggression against an independent country,” Khatami said while addressing the Friday Prayers sermon in Tehran.

“The Islamic Republic’s stance [on Turkey’s operation] is an advising one; Iran asks for stopping this operation and withdrawing military forces from the Syrian soil.”

He advised Turkey to not be deceived by Americans like the case of Saudis. “Saudi Arabia, as the servant of US, took America’s advice and got stuck in a quagmire; they sought to achieve their aim in Yemen in a week but now, after seven years, Yemeni warriors have the upper hand.”

“Turkey should be careful not to stumble into America’s trap; as soon as America withdraws its forces from northern Syria, Turkey replaces its forces in their place; be careful not to build a new quagmire for yourself,” he warned.

Turkey launched the operation on Oct. 9 claiming that it seeks to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria’s territorial integrity.

In a Thursday statement, Iran’s Foreign Ministry voiced concern over Turkey’s military operation in Syrian territories, and stressed “the need for an immediate end to the attacks and the pullout of Turkish forces from Syrian soil given the importance of the humanitarian situation and dangers posed to civilians in the conflict zone.”

“The Foreign Ministry of the Islamic Republic of Iran understands Turkey’s security concerns, but, as it has underlined before, believes not only is military action not the right way to allay this country’s security concerns, but also it inflicts extensive material and humanitarian damage and, hence, expresses its opposition to such a move,” added the statement.