Meeting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Tehran on Monday, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei specifically warned Washington again creating a buffer zone in Syria, the Iranian news agency Press TV reports.
“The issue of the buffer zone, which Americans seek to establish in Syria, is among those dangerous plots that must be categorically rejected and stood against”, Khamenei stressed.
He reiterated Tehran’s support for Damascus, noting that the resistance of the Syrian president and people as the main reason for “the defeat of the United States and its regional mercenaries”.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers supporting the Syrian government and people as helping [Syria’s] resistance movement and takes pride in it from the bottom of its heart,” Khamenei said.
His remarks came after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told Sputnik that Ankara continues to coordinate the details of the prospective safe zone on the border with Syria with Russia, the US and Iran.
“We’re working on it. We haven’t decided yet on its size. We’re working with Russia, with the US, and with our partners in Astana. Our technical teams met several times. We appreciate that Russia understands Turkey’s security concerns, as a partner and ally,” he said.
In January, US President Donald Trump claimed on his Twitter page that creation of a 30-kilometre buffer zone in northern Syria could protect the Kurds and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) from an alleged attack by Turkey.
The SDF leadership is spearheaded by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, an arm of the Kurdistan Workers Party. The party has been blacklisted by Ankara as a terrorist organisation.
In December 2018, Trump declared that he would withdraw US troops from Syria, vowing to bring about 3,000 US soldiers home. He argued that the reason for the move was the defeat of the Daesh* terrorist group in the Arab country.
The US forces have been operating in Syria as part of an international coalition’s anti-Daesh efforts, a mission which is authorised neither by the Syrian government nor the UN Security Council.
Moreover, Washington has been supporting the Kurdish-led militia controlling the territories to the east of the Euphrates and opposing the Syrian government.
Syrian President Assad has repeatedly accused Washington of trying to topple he country’s leadership and providing support to militants.