Iran says it opposes a Syria no-fly zone

Turkey wants an air exclusion zone and also a buffer zone along its border with Syria

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A senior Iranian official Thursday rejected the idea of a Syria no-fly zone, which Turkey wants, saying it would be “a mistake” and would not restore security to the region.

“Talk of the establishment of a buffer and no-fly zone is the repetition of previous mistakes and will not help with security and stability in the region,” deputy foreign minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said.

Before it will join a U.S.-led coalition staging air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants, Ankara wants an air exclusion zone and also a buffer zone along its border with Syria.

Turkey also wants moderate Syrian rebel groups to be trained in order to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

At the end of last year, the United States said a no-fly zone would not work because of the presence of more than a million Syrian refugees along the frontier.

Iran is the Damascus regime’s main regional ally, and provides Assad’s government with both financial and military help.

The Islamic republic also accuses Turkey of allowing the free movement of rebels and weapons across the border, an allegation Ankara denies.

Amir-Abdollahian, in comments reported by the website of Iran’s state television channel, said that for a political solution in Syria to be reached, neighboring countries must control their borders and prevent insurgents from crossing.

He was speaking in Kuwait, on the sidelines of an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation meeting.

The Syria conflict erupted in 2011 with a popular uprising that descended into a complex civil war in which more than 220,000 people have been killed.

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