Russia-Turkey Tensions Undesirable

Russia-Turkey Tensions Undesirable

A senior official described as "undesirable" the ongoing row between Russia and Turkey over Ankara's downing of a Russian jet, hoping that the two countries would move to defuse tensions.
"Tensions between Turkey and Russia are by no means proper and not favored by us. We hope that these tensions would be reduced and the two countries opt for good neighborliness," Ali Akbar Velayati, a foreign policy adviser to the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said in an interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network on Sunday.
Velayati made the statements after meeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in the Syrian capital Damascus. On November 24, Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24M jet inside Syria, claiming that the aircraft violated the Turkish airspace. Russia rejects Turkey's claim. The aircraft was on a mission targeting terrorists in Syria. The aircraft's two pilots ejected as it was going down in flames. One of them was killed by militants in Syria, while the second was picked up by the Syrian Army.
Velayati said Russia's air campaign in Syria against terrorist groups is based on a request from the "legitimate" government of Syria.
Russia began its military campaign against terrorists in Syria on September 30 upon the request of the Damascus government, shortly after the upper house of the Russian Parliament gave President Vladimir Putin the mandate to use military force in Syria. Defense officials in Moscow say the operation has been a success, as hundreds of militants have been forced to retreat from their positions while major arms depots, training camps and command posts belonging to the terrorists have been destroyed in the attacks.
Velayati described the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East as Israeli plots, reaffirming the Islamic Republic's support for anti-Israeli resistance groups, including Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah and Syrian government troops.
Heading the Center for Strategic Research of the Expediency Council, Velayati dismissed any military solution to the Syrian crisis, saying that the conflict should be settled via dialogue between Syrian sides.
"Syria's problem has no military solution, but it can be solved through political dialogue and Syrian-Syrian talks," he said, criticizing those who have "nurtured terrorists by providing them with financial and military support."
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The crisis has claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people so far and displaced millions.


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