A senior Iranian general has denied reports that Iranian forces would withdraw from Syria, saying that they, unlike the United States, were in the war-torn country at the request of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“Unlike the American military forces and the regional reactionaries, the Iranian advisors are present in Syria at the request of the Syrian government and people,” Brig.-Gen. Masoud Jazayeri, an advisor to the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces was quoted by Tasnim news agency on Sunday.
“Iran and Syria enjoy deep relations that would not be influenced by the propaganda measures of anyone,” Jazayeri said.
According to Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, “the Zionist regime’s greatest fear is the proximity of Muslim fighters near its border. It has come to pass.”
“Now that this has come true, the US and Israel are making desperate efforts to change the situation. But they should know that this condition is not going to change,” he underlined. “We are waiting to see a day when Syria and the other regional countries would witness an era without the annoying and troublemaking aliens.”
Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the growing Iranian presence on its borders and the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah from Tehran to Lebanon via Syria, stressing that both are red-lines for the Jewish State.
Reports in recent days have claimed that Israel and Russia have agreed to remove Iranian and Hezbollah troops as well as Shiite militias from southern Syria, and on Thursday the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Iranian forces were preparing to withdraw from southern Syria, away from the Israeli border.
Yet another unconfirmed report in the Syrian opposition newspaper Zaman al-Wasl claimed that the commander of the Syrian Air Force has decided Damascus will no longer allow Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias to use its bases to store ammunition and host fighters. According to the report, the Assad regime has been in a “panic following recent Israeli attacks.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman met with his Russian counterpart Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last week where the two discussed the Iranian presence in Syria. Russia, which views Iran as a key player in resolving the crisis in Syria, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of the role that the Islamic Republic plays in the war-torn country.
“The state of Israel appreciates Russia’s understanding of our security concerns, particularly regarding the situation at our northern border,” Lieberman wrote on Twitter after the meeting, adding that “we’ll continue our dialogue with Russia on every matter at hand.”
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Saturday that Iran has no military presence or bases in his country but that Iranian military advisors are there to help Damascus.
“[There is] no Iranian military presence on the Syrian territories; rather there are advisors who work by the side of the Syrian Arab Army,” Muallem said during a press briefing in Damascus. “Since the beginning of the crisis, Iran has supported Syria in the war against terrorism backed and financed regionally and internationally.”
In an interview with Russia’s RT news agency last week Assad denied that there were any Iranian troops in the country, saying that “We have Iranian officers who work with the Syrian army.”
“We do not have Iranian troops. We never had, and you cannot hide it,” he said, “Like we invited the Russians, we could have invited the Iranians.”
Source » jpost