Iran responded to protests in Turkey against Tehran's role in supporting the regime forces in Syria by summoning Turkey's envoy, media outlets reported yesterday. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi branded days of protests against Turkey's eastern neighbor as "inappropriate" while Iran remains quiet on the accusation of atrocities in Syria by Iran-backed militias targeting civilians.
Quoted by Doğan News Agency (DHA), Qasemi claimed at a press conference yesterday that the Turkish police did not alert Iranian diplomatic missions in Turkey against protests and said it was "inappropriate" for such protests to be held at midnight. He said Iran conveyed its concerns to Rıza Hakan Tekin, the Turkish ambassador to Iran.
The spokesman claimed some people in Turkey tried to create anti-Iranian sentiment in Turkey and they knew the powers behind the anti-Iranian protests.
Qasemi also announced a delay to a visit scheduled yesterday to Ankara by Eshaq Jahangiri, Iranian's first vice president. He said due to the senior official's tight schedule, the visit was postponed to another date, citing visits abroad by President Rouhani and "Cabinet tasks assigned to Jahangiri."
Syria has been entangled in a civil war since 2011, after the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests. Iran, which maintained close ties both with President Assad and his father Hafez Assad, the previous ruler of the country, was among the first countries to offer assistance in crushing the opposition that later took up arms and formed the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in the face of increasing violence by the Assad forces. Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards have been reported as fighting in Syria, while Hezbollah, the Lebanese faction supported by Tehran, also sent its fighters to aid in Assad's crackdown on rebels. Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have been killed, and millions more displaced by the conflict.
Iran's involvement in the Syrian conflict aggravates atrocities committed on civilians, Turkish activists claim, especially in Aleppo, the Syrian city besieged for months by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad. In days of protests, crowds chanted slogans against "Killer Iran," venting their anger against the airstrikes and shelling on some 100,000 civilians who were trapped by the Iranian-backed militia and regime forces in a small swath of land in the largely ruined city.
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