Iran's Rohani, Turkish Foreign Minister Meet to Discuss Rising Syria Tensions

'More consultation and cooperation is needed to resolve the Syria crisis,' Rohani told Turkey's Mevlut Cavusoglu

President Hassan Rohani greets Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the start of their meeting at the presidency office, in Tehran, Iran February 7, 2018.
/AP

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu met Iranian president Hassan Rohani in Tehran on Wednesday amidst rising tension over Syria.

Earlier this week, Iran urged Turkey to stop its military offensive in Syria, saying the operation in the northern Afrin region breached Syrian sovereignty and would increase tension in the war-damaged country.

“Under the current circumstances, more consultation and cooperation is needed to resolve the Syria crisis,” Rohani said at the meeting, according to Iranian state media.

“We have to strive for a situation where no country in the region feels danger or a threat from its neighbors,” he added, according to media.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, helped by Iran-backed militias and the Russian air force, is pursuing military campaigns against insurgents in the last major redoubts of territory held by his opponents in western Syria.

There have been air strikes on towns across the Eastern Ghouta, including Douma where an entire building was brought down, a local witness said. In Idlib, where government forces and their allies are also on the offensive, at least five people were killed in the village of Tarmala in recent offensives, the Observatory said.

"Today there is no safe area at all. This is a key point people should know: there is no safe space," Siraj Mahmoud, the head of the Civil Defence rescue service in opposition-held rural Damascus, told Reuters.

The United Nations has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire on the area. In a statement, Paulo Pinheiro, head of the International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said an ongoing Syrian government siege of Eastern Ghouta "involve(s) the international crimes of indiscriminate bombardment and deliberate starvation of the civilian population."