A former Iranian diplomat has warned that the chances of Turkish and Iranian forces clashing in Syria in the near future are "highly likely", as Ankara and Tehran's interests in the region continue to converge.
Speaking to the Iranian daily newspaper, Shargh, Ali Akbar Farazi – Iran's former ambassador to Romania, Cyprus, and Hungary – said that "a confrontation between Iran and Turkiye is highly likely [in Syria], and such a confrontation would lead to clashes between the two countries' troops".
Farazi claimed that Iranian and Turkish forces have already previously clashed on a few occasions during the Turkish military's three military interventions into Syria. "Turkiye's army, on previous occasions, attacked Iranian forces and positions, causing losses".
Now, with a new military operation in northern Syria being planned by Ankara, the chance of a confrontation between the two forces will apparently again present itself and is inevitable, according to Farazi.
The former diplomat also revealed that one of Tehran's main fears of the Turkish military's activities in Syria was that it would capture the key city of Homs. "In recent years, Turkiye has proved that it peruses an invasive policy … based on this policy and the Neo-Ottomanism ideology, Turkey invaded Syria and Iraq and annexed parts of these two countries to its territory," he said.
Throughout the ongoing decade-long civil war in Syria, in which Tehran supports the regime of Bashar Al-Assad, while Ankara supports factions of the Syrian opposition, the two forces had never engaged in any serious or significant clashes against one another.
Despite tense relations and divergent interests between Turkiye, Iran, and Assad's other ally, Russia, they have so far steered clear of direct confrontation with other state actors with interests in Syria, maintaining the proxy element of the conflict and avoiding serious geopolitical implications.