TEHRAN: Iran warned Turkey that any offensive in Syria would be “detrimental”, ahead of a trilateral summit on Tuesday with Russia that has been overshadowed by fallout from Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The summit is the first hosted by Iran’s ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi since he took office last year, and it will see his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin travel abroad for only the second time since he ordered the invasion of Ukraine.
It comes days after US President Joe Biden visited the Middle East for the first time since taking office, with stops in Iran’s regional foes Israel and Saudi Arabia.
But the trilateral summit is ostensibly centred on Syria, as part of the “Astana peace process” to end more than 11 years of conflict in the Arab country.
All three are involved in Syria, with Iran and Russia supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Turkey backing rebels.
The gathering comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to launch a new offensive in northern Syria against Kurdish militants.
Erdogan, who arrived in Tehran on Monday night, was received by Raisi on Tuesday at the Saadabad palace complex before holding talks with Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
In their meeting, Khamenei told Erdogan an offensive in Syria would be “detrimental” for the region and called for the issue to be resolved through dialogue between Ankara, Damascus, Moscow and Tehran.
Erdogan addressed the issue later at a joint news conference with his Iranian counterpart, saying Kurdish militias caused “great trouble” for both Iran and Turkey.
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“We should fight against these terrorist organisations in solidarity and alliance,” he added.
The presidents also oversaw the signing of a number of agreements in different fields, including in trade and economy.
Erdogan has for months been offering to meet Putin in a bid to help resolve heightened global tensions.
“The timing of this summit is not a coincidence,” Russian analyst Vladimir Sotnikov said.
“Turkey wants to conduct a ‘special operation’ in Syria just as Russia is implementing a ‘special operation’ in Ukraine.”
Turkey has launched waves of attacks on Syria since 2016, targeting Kurdish militias as well as Islamic State group jihadists and Assad loyalists.