Turkey, Iran call for Ramadan cease-fire in Syria

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salihi (L) and his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, are seen together ahead of a meeting in Ankara in this July 12, 2013 photo.

Turkey and Iran - at odds over the crisis in Syria - have jointly called for a cease-fire in the country during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salihi had a meeting on Friday with his Turkish counterpart, Ahmet Davutoğlu, to discuss crisis in Syria and the coup in Egypt.
Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu and his Iranian counterpart made the appeal in the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Friday. The two ministers said both Assad's forces and the opposition fighters should observe the cease-fire.
Iran was one of the few countries that criticized the ousting of Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Mohammed Morsi, with a coup d'état last week.
Tehran called the overthrow of Morsi after mass protests against him a "cause for concern" and suggested that "foreign hands" were at work in the Arab state. Egypt quickly responded to this statement, accusing Iran of interfering in the country's domestic affairs.
Egypt also in similar remarks hit out at Turkey for criticizing the Egyptian army's removal of Morsi. Turkey had described the overthrow of Morsi an "unacceptable coup,” while some government officials even called on supporters of Morsi to stand up for their votes. This response to the coup in Egypt was seen as one of the strongest reactions from overseas.
From the West, the United States refrained from using the term “coup” to describe the military takeover in Egypt, which was followed with the replacement of Morsi with an interim president and the suspension of the constitution. The European Union also insisted that Egypt's armed forces reacted in response to a buildup of tension and polarization -- a reaction that implicitly legitimized the army's move.
While Iran and Turkey have taken a firm stand against the ousting of the Egyptian leader, the two countries remain sharply divided over the resolution of the prolonged Syrian crisis, which threatens regional instability with a wider escalation of the conflict.
Shiite Muslim Iran is the main backer of President Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey has been supporting the Syrian opposition against Assad's government.
Yet despite apparent differences in their approach to the protracted fighting in Syria, Ankara and Tehran are maintaining dialogue on the crisis.
The Syrian regime, helped by the Iranian-linked Lebanese Hezbollah militants, has maintained a clear military advantage on the battlefield against the opposition since May. The second Geneva conference, which was proposed by the UN Security Council heavyweights the US and Russia, seems to have been postponed again until September.
The opposition forces have been under siege in the strategic city of Homs and trying to hold on to swathes of territory across the country.
The Syrian opposition forces think that military support is vital to promote the safety and security of Syrian citizens. However, the US continues to delay a plan to send weapons due to fears that the arms might end up in the hands of radical Islamic groups battling inside Syria such as the Nusra Front, one of the most effective rebel groups but one that has been labeled by the US as a front for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

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