Aleppo Victory Major Step towards Syria Peace: Iran’s President

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hailed the liberation of Syria’s strategic northwestern city of Aleppo as a major step towards stability in the Arab state, saying the gain prevented the Middle East from having to face an uncertain future.

In a Wednesday meeting with visiting Syrian Prime Minister Imad Khamis, Rouhani said had the Takfiri terrorists and their supporters won in Aleppo, “a dangerous path would have opened up for the region and an uncertain future befallen it.”

Late last year, the army managed to liberate the eastern sector of Aleppo, the country’s second-largest city, which had fallen to Takfiri groups back in 2012. By doing so, the Syrian forces both restored the entirety of the city to government control and dealt the hardest blow to the militants since the onset of their campaign of foreign-fueled violence in Syria in 2011.

Government forces later secured the evacuation of remaining civilians and armed elements from the city under a ceasefire deal, brokered by Russia and Turkey, which were respectively representing the Syrian government and the armed factions. The Aleppo deal set the stage for a landmark all-Syria truce deal between Damascus and foreign-backed militant groups.

Rouhani further said the victory in Aleppo showed the world that “the Syrian people are capable of defending their homeland in the face of terrorists, and that the terror groups and their sponsors will never be able to achieve their goals.

The Iranian chief executive praised the Aleppo triumph as well as the Syria ceasefire as “two important steps towards establishment of peace and stability in the Arab country.”

This favorable opportunity should be seized to step up the fight against terrorists, said Rouhani, stressing, “What is sought by all of Syria’s friends is for peace and stability to return to the country so people can easily decide their future.”

“The Iranian government, people, and Leader [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] have always stood by the Syrian people and will always do so,” the Iranian president noted.

Khamis, for his part, said the Aleppo victory owes to the perseverance and resistance of the Syrian people and army as well as Iran’s unstinting support.

He asserted that the Syrians were intent upon returning security to their country.

Astana Talks ‘No Place for US’

Khamis also met with Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Ayatollah Khamenei, who said the Islamic Republic is “vehemently opposed” to the US participation in the upcoming conflict resolution talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

The negotiations will be held between representatives from the Damascus government and foreign-sponsored opposition groups on January 23.

They are mediated by Russia, Turkey, and Iran. Talks between the three have so far worked much in the way of bringing about the achievements on the ground.

“The talks will be the result of the victories of the Syrian government and people as well as their allies,” said Velayati, adding that the parties, which have long supported the terror groups and faced defeat on the battlefield, should not be allowed to “exploit the political arena and reap their desired results.”

The US has, from the start, insisted on deposing Syria’s legitimate government, he added.

The United States and its regional allies, namely Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, have been lavishing financial and political support on anti-Syria terror groups since 2011, when the outfits unleashed their campaign of violence against the country.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also communicated Tehran’s opposition to Washington’s presence at the negotiation table.

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