Iran, Turkey Discuss Syrian Conflict, Regional Issues

Iran, Turkey Discuss Syrian Conflict, Regional Issues Iran, Turkey Discuss Syrian Conflict, Regional Issues

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, held an unexpected meeting on Wednesday.

The session was held in the Turkish capital Ankara, during a short stop by Zarif on his way to Tehran from New York, where he attended the UN General Assembly.

The two sides did not comment on their third meeting in the last two months, but IRNA reported that the "Syrian conflict, other important regional issues and bilateral relations" were the focus of the three-hour meeting.

Over the past five years, the crisis-hit Syria has been the scene of a standoff between the Syrian Army and militants fighting to bring down the government. Turkey has joined an alliance of some regional and western states that back armed militant groups, which stands on the opposite side of Iran. The latter provides advisory assistance to the Syrian Army in its fight against militants, insisting that no outside power can decide for the Syrian nation.

Increased contacts between Turkish and Iranian officials in recent months, especially after the July detente between Turkey and Russia, have raised speculations about the possibility of Iran, Russia and Turkey forging cooperation on Syria. Russia has been conducting airstrikes against militants since September 2015 and Ankara has recently shown willingness for closer coordination with Moscow and Tehran to help push an international drive for resolving the conflict in the Arab country through a diplomatic process.

Last August, at a joint news conference in Ankara after their meeting, Cavusoglu and Zarif said they have agreed to "keep closer contact" on the issue of the "territorial integrity of Syria".

Despite their differences over Syria, the two neighbors have managed to keep their bilateral relations intact. Later on Wednesday, Zarif also met with Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.