Iran says there’s ‘no military solution’ for Syria, only political deal

In talks with Russia and Turkey, Rouhani says Tehran backs ‘inter-Syrian dialogue’ and fight against ‘terrorism’ in the war-torn country

President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran, Iran, on January 16, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP)
President Hassan Rouhani speaks in Tehran, Iran, on January 16, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Presidency via AP)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said there is “no military solution” for Syria on Wednesday during a video conference with his Russian and Turkish counterparts about the war-torn country.

“The Islamic Republic believes the only solution to the Syrian crisis is political and not a military solution,” Rouhani said in a televised opening address.

“We continue to support the inter-Syrian dialogue and underline our determination to fight the terrorism of Daesh (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group), al-Qaeda and other related groups.”

“I emphasize that the fight against terrorism will continue until it is completely eradicated in Syria and the region in general,” he added.

Rouhani made the remarks in a video conference with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After delivering opening statements, the three presidents are expected to discuss Syria in private.

Syrian army troops advance towards the rebel-held areas of the northern Aleppo province on February 12, 2020. (AFP)

The talks are the first since September in the so-called Astana format, in which the three powers discuss developments in Syria, where the conflict has entered its 10th year.

Iran and Russia have been staunch supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while Turkey has called for his ouster and backed opposition fighters.

The conflict has killed more than 380,000 people and displaced millions.

Iranian forces and proxy militias have long been operating in Syria in support of Assad.

Israel has maintained that Tehran is working to establish a permanent military presence in Syria in order to use it as a springboard for attacks against Israel. Jerusalem has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. It has targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah.

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