Iran accuses Turkey of prolonging civil war in Syria

(Syrians walk along a severely damaged road in the northeastern city of Deir Ezzor on January 4, 2014. AFP Photo/Ahmad Aboud)

Iran has accused Turkey of prolonging the three-year conflict in neighboring Syria by insisting on President Bashar al-Assad’s overthrow and supporting “terrorist groups,” the official IRNA news agency has reported.

Tehran and Ankara back opposing sides in the civil war, which pits rebel forces including radical Sunni Muslim fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) against Assad, Tehran’s closest regional ally.

“Ankara’s interference in Syrian internal affairs has unfortunately resulted in prolonging the war and extensive deaths of innocent Syrian civilians,” Iran’s official IRNA news agency quoted a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying.

“The crisis in Syria could have ended three years ago if Turkish officials stopped demanding regime change and supporting terrorist groups in Syria,” the official said…

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