10:57 GMT19 June 2021
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    Iran's President Hassan Rouhani met with his Russia's counterpart Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey on Friday to discuss the situation in Syria. Sputnik spoke to Mohammed Marandi, Professor at the University of Tehran, to find out his opinion on the trilateral talks and what he thought US reaction would be to an offensive in Idlib.

    Sputnik: Do you think Turkey would agree to Syrian government plans to launch an Idlib offensive?

    Mohammed Marandi: That’s very hard to say. The Turks have traditionally been supporting these jihadists with support from the United States and Saudi Arabia and other countries like the UAE. But in recent years the Turks have become increasingly concerned with how it is impacting Turkey itself. There are terrorist attacks and also the Turkish intervention in Syria has created the rise of the PKK, a Kurdish group which Turkey feels is very dangerous for its national security. And also because of the US role in the coup in Turkey, and the US attacks on the Turkish currency, the Turks in general are moving away from the United States as well. So they are concerned about security and they are concerned about US aggressive attitudes towards Turkey. So they’ve moved closer to the Iranian/Russian camp.

    Sputnik: Would a successful offensive by the Syrian government and its allies really end the Syrian conflict?

    Mohammed Marandi: Turkey still supports many of the other extremist groups besides Hayat Tahrir al-Sham or Al-Qaeda, and some of them are just as bad. On the other hand we have the American occupation of north-eastern Syria and the American occupation in the south of Syria. So the Turks and the Americans are both occupying areas in Syria and the Americans have recently declared that they are not going to withdraw. The occupation is illegal; what they are trying to do is what we’ve just recently heard — an unnamed American official who seems to be Bolton — as saying  the United States’ objective now is to create quagmires for Russia and Iran. That’s extraordinary. They are illegally occupying a country they’ve created an internal strife with the help of bringing in tens of thousands of foreign fighters and funding fighters. Now that they’ve destroyed so much of Syria and the war is coming to an end the Americans want to go on with another series of aggressive behaviour in order to hurt Russia and Iran who are both legally inside Syria.

    Sputnik: What can we expect the US reaction to be, particularly if the jihadists use chemical weapons? Could we see similar strikes to those launched on Douma and could we see direct military confrontation between the US and Russia?

    Mohammed Marandi: Yes this is one of the extraordinary things, that the western media is completely silent about the fact that the United States is already predicting a chemical weapons attack and attributing it to the Syrian army; when in fact we know from previous cases, especially the last two when the Americans struck Syria, that there was no evidence provided that the Syrian government was behind it and that it was the jihadists and the extremists who had the incentive to carry out the attack. The Syrians are winning the war; why would they create a situation which would give the Americans an excuse to attack their country? It’s obvious that they are not going to carry out a chemical attack and they don’t have chemicals to attack. If the Americans have fired over 200 missiles towards Syria, assuming they did have chemical weapons – which they didn’t — why would they have them now if they’ve all been destroyed? So it’s obvious that this is an excuse and I do think the Americans will carry out missile strikes and the western media will toe the line and will make state department and US senior official statements and so will the British and the French, but I don’t think that these strikes against the Syrian people will deter the Syrian government from restoring sovereignty in Idlib.

    The views expressed in this article are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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