Iran has welcomed the possibility of a rapprochement between its ally Syria and Turkey, the main backer of the political and armed opposition to Damascus for more than a decade.

“We are happy with the dialogue taking place between Syria and Turkey, and we believe that it will reflect positively between the two countries,”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said on Friday during a visit to Beirut. He made the comments on the heels of a statement by Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad,

that said a Moscow-brokered rapprochement with his foe Turkey should aim for the end of Ankara’s “occupation” of northwestern Syria, one of the few safe havens for the opposition.

He also said that Turkey had to halt support for “terrorism”, an apparent reference to support for the rebels.

Al-Assad made the remarks on Thursday in a meeting in Damascus with the Russian presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev.

The comments followed a meeting between the Turkish and Syrian defence ministers in Moscow on December 28.