Iranian FM says Syria facing 'new wave' of US intervention

The use of proxies by the United States is dangerous for the region, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said
Monday, 19 February 2018 20:32

Syria is currently facing a "new wave" of intervention by the United States, as Washington continues to pursue its geoeconomic interests, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday.

On February 7, the US-led coalition said in a statement that it had conducted defensive airstrikes against the pro-government forces in Syria that attacked the headquarters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) east of the Euphrates River. On February 8, media reported citing a US official that at least 100 Syrian pro-government troops had been killed in the coalition’s air and artillery strikes.

"Unfortunately we see a new wave of foreign intervention and occupation particularly by the US driven by an obsession. If we look at the attack by the US against the Syrian forces on February 7, we see some profiting, a short-sighted geoeconomic interest to capture territory," Zarif said at the conference "Russia in the Middle East: playing on all fields" in Moscow.

The use of proxies by the United States is dangerous for the region, the politician added.

"We believe that the anxiety of our Turkish neighbours about the US designs in the region is understandable, but this is not the way to address that anxiety... Incursions in others' territories are not the way to address the problems," Zarif stressed.

The US-led coalition of more than 70 members is conducting military operations against the Islamic State terrorist group (IS, outlawed in the United States and Russia, among other states) in Syria and Iraq. The coalition's strikes in Iraq are conducted in cooperation with Iraqi officials, but those in Syria are not authorized by the government of President Bashar Assad or the United Nations Security Council.

The United States has also planned to create 30,000-strong border forces on the Turkey-Syria frontier. On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the United States sought to separate a large part of Syria from the rest of the country and set up autonomy with the support of the Kurds.

The US side continues the de facto occupation of a 34-mile zone around its military base in Syria's At-Tanf helping IS militants to hide from the Syrian government troops, the Russian Foreign Ministry said last week. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has urged the United States to close its deconfliction zone.

Lavrov said earlier in the day that Moscow was concerned by the attempts to divide Syria, as such fears arise from the actions taken by the United States.