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Iran Condemns Attacks on Syria         07/02 08:42


   DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Iran's foreign minister Saturday condemned an 
Israeli airstrike on Syria earlier in the day and said Tehran opposes any 
military operation by Turkey in Syria's north.

   Hossein Amirabdollahian made his comments at the start of a visit to the 
Syrian capital Damascus, where he was expected to discuss mutual relations and 
regional affairs with top Syrian officials.

   Iran has been one of Syrian President Bashar Assad's strongest backers, 
sending thousands of fighters from around the region to help his troops in 
Syria's 11-year conflict. The war has killed hundreds of thousands and 
displaced half the country's pre-war population of 23 million.

   Amirabdollahian's visit came hours after Israel carried out an airstrike on 
a coastal Syrian village near the border with Lebanon wounding two people, 
Syrian state media reported.

   It also comes after Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly 
said he's planning a major military operation to create a 30-kilometer (19 
mile) deep buffer zone inside Syria along Turkey's border. He said he would do 
that by way of a cross-border incursion against U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish 
fighters -- an attempt that failed in 2019.

   "We understand the concerns of our neighbor Turkey but we oppose any 
military measure in Syria," Amirabdollahian said, adding that Iran is trying to 
solve the "misunderstanding between Turkey and Syria through dialogue."

   Analysts have said Erdogan is taking advantage of the war in Ukraine to push 
his own goals in Syria. Turkey agreed this week to lift its opposition to 
Sweden and Finland joining NATO, saying the Nordic nations had agreed to crack 
down on groups that Ankara deems national security threats, including the 
Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and its Syrian extension.

   Turkey has demanded that Finland and Sweden extradite wanted individuals and 
lift arms restrictions imposed after Turkey's 2019 military incursion into 
northeast Syria.

   Amirabdollahian blasted Israel saying that through its airstrikes it is 
trying to destabilize Syria and show that the country lacks security.

   The Israel attack was the first since a June 10 airstrike on the 
international airport in the Syrian capital of Damascus caused significant 
damage to infrastructure and runways and rendered the main runway unusable. The 
airport was closed for two weeks and flights resumed on June 23.

   State news agency SANA said Israeli warplanes flying over northern Lebanon 
fired missiles toward several chicken farms in the village of Hamidiyeh south 
of the coastal city of Tartus. The attack happened a few kilometers (miles) 
north of the border with Lebanon.

   SANA said two people, including a woman, were wounded and there was material 

   Israel has staged hundreds of strikes against targets in Syria over the 
years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations. Israel says it 
targets bases of Iran-allied militias, such as Hezbollah, which has fighters 
deployed in Syria fighting on the side of Assad's government forces and ships 
arms believed to be bound for the militias.

   The Damascus International Airport strike marked a major escalation in 
Israel's campaign, further ratcheting up tensions between Israel on one side 
and Iran and its Lebanese ally, the militant Hezbollah group, on the other.

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