Erdogan demands Russia, Iran support for a Turkish military incursion in northern Syria

Erdogan demands Russia, Iran support for a Turkish military incursion in northern Syria
Turkish President Erdogan has long warned of a Turkish military incursion into northern Syria against Kurdish militias that it considers 'terrorists.'
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Erdogan is meeting with leaders of Iran and Russia at a trilateral summit in Tehran [Getty]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday told the leaders of Russia and Iran that he expected their full support in Ankara's fight against "terrorists" in Syria.

Erdogan's comments during a summit in Tehran followed weeks of warnings that Turkey may soon launch a new military incursion into northern border regions of the war-torn country.

Moscow and Tehran have been backing the Damascus government in the Syrian conflict, while Ankara has supported the Syrian rebels.

Both Russia and Iran have a military presence in parts of Syria mentioned as possible targets of Turkey's new assault.

Erdogan accuses outlawed Kurdish militants of using the border region as a staging post for their decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

"What we expect from Russia and Iran is their support for Turkey in its fight against terrorism," Erdogan said in televised remarks.

Erdogan noted that Turkey had struck an agreement with Moscow and Washington in 2019 under which both countries were supposed to help push outlawed Kurdish militants 30 kilometres (19 miles) away from the Syria-Turkey border.

"This still has not happened," said Erdogan. "It is a long overdue."

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Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has earlier told Erdogan that a new Turkish offensive would be "detrimental" to the region.

Washington and Moscow have also urged Turkey to exercise restraint.

Turkey's past campaigns have targeted Syrian offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK are proscribed as a "terrorist" organisation by Ankara as well as Washington and the European Union.

But the PKK's Syrian offshoot has played a central role in the US-led campaign against the Islamist State group in Syria.

"It should be understood clearly that there is no room in our region's future for separatist terror organisations," Erdogan said.

"We will continue our fight against terrorist organisations in the time to come."