Iran Holds Military Drills Near Turkey

Iran launched unannounced drills Wednesday near its border with Turkey as Tehran warned its neighbor not to move forward with its military operation in northern Syria and Russia criticized Washington for setting up a potentially deadly scenario in the region, Newsweek reported.

Iranian army chief Major General Abdul Rahim Mousavi oversaw what was described as surprise exercises designed to “measure the readiness, mobility and speed” of his forces in the country’s northwest. Without specifying the exact nature of the maneuvers, Mousavi explained in an official release that the results of the drills were positive.

“This is a good message for the great Iranian nation that its soldiers and children are fully prepared to carry out their missions to counter any possible enemy movement,” Mousavi said, saying the troops are “at the peak of their readiness.”

“The message to the enemies is that if they make the wrong calculations, they should know that the children of this land are ready to resist with their full power at any time and place,” he added.

The drills came as Iran, an ally of the Syrian government, continued to voice concerns toward pro-opposition Turkey’s planned incursion into northern Syria. The operation planned to target both the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the major component of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, and the Daesh, both of which Ankara considers terrorist organizations, Newsweek adds.

“We have made it clear that the solution to establishment of security in the northern Syrian and southern Turkish borders is possible only with the presence of the Syrian army and we must provide all grounds for the Syrian military presence in these areas,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said when in a cabinet meeting, according to his office. “The Americans must leave the region, and the Kurds should cooperate with the Syrian Army, which is actually their own country.”

“The path chosen today and the agreements that are happening behind the scenes will not benefit the region, and we call on our friend and brother Turkey and its government to pay more attention and patience in such matters,” he added.

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