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Iran's Parliament Speaker Cancels Turkey Visit After Turkish Attacks In Syria

Civilians flee with their belongings during Turkish bombardment on Syria's northeastern town of Ras al-Ain in the Hasakeh province along the Turkish border. October 9, 2019

Iran is showing its opposition to Turkey's military incursion into the Kurdish part of Syria by cancelling a high-level visit and holding army exercises.

Iran's parliament speaker Ali Larijani has cancelled his scheduled trip to Turkey, Iranian state TV reported, after Ankara launched a military operation against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria on Wednesday.

"Larijani was invited by his Turkish counterpart to attend a parliamentary meeting in Turkey. His trip has been cancelled," TV said, without elaborating.

Earlier Wednesday, Iran's armed forces announced war games taking place in northwest of the country, close to the Turkish border, without any reference to events in Syria.

The military drill involves rapid reaction units, mobile and attack brigades, and helicopters from the Army Ground Force's Airborne Unit.

Turkey began bombing and shelling the northern border areas of Syria, forcing thousands of residents to flee. Initial estimates say 11 people have been killed in the attacks.

Iran is a close ally of Syria's central government and opposes the involvement of other countries in the war-torn country. Tehran insists that its own presence is the result of an invitation by Bashar Assad's government.

With reporting by Reuters