Amid mounting tensions between the US and Iran, Syria on Friday called on all parties to exercise "restraint" in the Gulf. "The Syrian government calls on all sides to exercise restraint because escalating tensions in the Gulf would not benefit countries in the region," news agency AFP quoted a foreign ministry source as saying. Washington has deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf citing alleged threats from Tehran.
"Dialogue... would undoubtedly reduce tensions and would ensure stability, security and peace," the source said.
Earlier, President Donald Trump had said that he hopes the US is not on a path to war with Iran. Asked if the US was going to war with Iran, the president replied, "I hope not" a day after he repeated a desire for dialogue, tweeting, "I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon."
The tone contrasted with a series of moves by the US and Iran that have sharply escalated tensions in the Middle East in recent days.
Trump pulled the US out of the Iran nuclear deal last year and reinstated sanctions on Tehran that are crippling its economy.
Tensions rose dramatically May 5, when Bolton announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group would be rushed from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf ahead of schedule in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings," without going into details.
Since then, four oil tankers, including two belonging to Saudi Arabia, were targeted in an apparent act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, according to officials in the region, and a Saudi pipeline was attacked by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels from Yemen.
The US also ordered non-essential staff out of Iraq and has dispatched additional military assets to the region.