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Turkey's Positions on Syria Contradictory

Turkey's Positions on Syria ContradictoryTurkey's Positions on Syria Contradictory

A lawmaker criticized Turkey for inconsistency in its policy on Syria after Iran's northwestern neighbor launched an incursion into northern Syria on Saturday.    

"Unfortunately Turkey's position [on Syria] has shown a zigzag pattern and it appears uncertain about what goals to pursue in regional developments," Akbar Torki told ICANA on Monday.

Ankara joined Tehran and Moscow in late 2016 in sponsoring a peace process, known as Astana talks, to ensure a ceasefire in Syria and monitor any violations.

Iran's military advisors backed by Russia air power have intervened in the nearly seven-year-old conflict in Syria to back President Bashar al-Assad in his fight against foreign-backed militant groups that seek his ouster.

The trilateral push with Turkey took shape when the Iran-Russia alliance was on the verge of retaking Aleppo, the second largest Syrian city.

The trio have agreed on creating four de-escalation zones in the war-ravaged Arab country.

   Imprudent Stance

"It was hoped that contacts between Iran, Turkey, and Russia would continue but unwise stances adopted by Turkey in the past few years show that it tends to create highs and lows in its relations with other regional countries," Torki said.

Iran called on Turkey on Sunday to quickly end its offensive on the border province of Afrin inside Syria, warning that it could boost terrorist groups.

"Iran hopes that this operation will be immediately stopped to prevent an escalation of the crisis in the border areas of Turkey and Syria," IRNA quoted Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying. "A continued crisis in Afrin may bolster ...terrorist groups in northern Syria."

Turkey's push is purportedly meant to clear fighters of People's Protection Units (YPG) from a northwestern enclave of Syria.

Amid international calls for restraint, Turkish artillery pounded the positions of the Kurdish militia in what it called "Operation Olive Branch", while fired rockets from inside Syria targeted two Turkish border towns, before pushing into Syrian territory on Saturday

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization and has been infuriated by US support for the fighters.

Washington, which is backing the YPG in the battle against the self-styled Islamic State terror group in Syria, said it was concerned about the situation.

Ankara is targeting the US-supported YPG at a time Turkey's ties with NATO ally Washington are deeply strained.

"We urge Turkey to exercise restraint and ensure that its military operations remain limited in scope and duration and scrupulous to avoid civilian casualties," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. Turkey did advise the United States before taking action, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said, adding "We'll work this out".

The attacks follow weeks of warnings against the YPG in Syria from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ministers. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said Turkey was infuriated by "unilateral" US actions in Syria, Reuters reported.

Turkey has been particularly outraged by an announcement that the US planned to train 30,000 personnel in parts of northeast Syria under the control of the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

France called for restraint and an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Monday to address the situation in Syria, Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

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