Iran says no third party will limit it in Syria

Damascus – Iran’s defence minister said Sunday his country will continue its support of the Syrian regime to ensure improved security in the region, adding that the nature of the two countries cooperation won’t be decided by a “third party.”

The Israeli regime has expressed concern over Iran’s growing influence in Syria, accusing Iran of seeking to establish a foothold near the frontier. The United States has been pressing for Iran to withdraw its fighters from Syria. In recent meetings between US and Russian officials, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton said he and Russian officials are discussing ways to do that, without providing details, calling it a US priority.

Iran says its presence in Syria is at the invitation of the Syrian regime. “No third party can affect the presence of Iranian advisers in Syria,” Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami told reporters in Damascus.

His comments came at the start of a two-day visit to Syria, where he met with Bashar Al Assad and other senior officials. The high-level military delegation headed by Hatami is expected to boost cooperation between the two countries, and Iranian media reported the two are expected to sign new military and defence agreements.

Iran has provided key support to Al Assad in the seven-year civil war, sending thousands of military advisers and allied militiamen to bolster his forces.

Hatami said he hopes Iran can play a “productive role” in Syria’s reconstruction, according to Iran’s Press TV.

“Iran will spare no effort to maintain Syria’s territorial integrity, because security in the country will help (improve) regional stability,” Hatami said in a meeting with his Syrian counterpart, General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, in Damascus on Sunday, according to Press TV. He later met with Assad.


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