Syria truce must not strengthen terror groups: Iran defense chief

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan ©AFP

The Iranian defense minister has called for a “comprehensive”​ ceasefire deal aimed at containing the violence in Syria, stressing, however, that any such agreement should not pave the way for terror groups to grow stronger.

Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan made the comments in a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Syrian counterparts, Lieutenant General Sergei Shoigu and Major General Fahad Jassim Freij, in Tehran on Thursday.

“Iran gives its approval to a ceasefire which has the necessary guarantees and will not lead to the strengthening of the terrorists operating in this country,” said the Iranian defense chief.

Dehqan further called for “a firm fight” against all terrorist groups without making exceptions as well as a halt in the flow of foreign aid to the Takfiri outfits operating in the country.

However, he added that such anti-terror battles must go hand in hand with efforts on the diplomatic front with the aim of setting the stage for the Syrian nation to decide its own political future in peace.

The Iranian minister further slammed the United States, Saudi Arabia and some other regional states for supporting the terrorists under the guise of so-called “moderate opposition,” saying such “fake and empty” attempts merely exposes the lies of imperialist powers that claim to be advocating anti-terror battles.

Saudi, Israel bent on promoting terror

Dehqan harshly condemned a joint Saudi-Israeli plot aimed at boosting terrorism, warning the Riyadh regime against “the dangerous repercussions” of working hand in gloves with “enemies of Muslims and the entire humanity.”

He also called for “urgent and comprehensive” measures aimed at eliminating terror threats, stressing that the trilateral Tehran meeting has been held to that effect.

Iran, as an anchor of stability and peace in the region and a major victim of terrorism, has always stood firm in the face of terror, occupation and aggression, he added.

The senior Iranian official further expressed hope that the Tehran forum could help foil the plots hatched to harm the sovereignty of regional states by breaking them into pieces.

In turn, the Russian and Syrian ministers outlined their views on ways to promote the fight against terrorism, thanking the Islamic Republic for hosting the meeting.

Syria has been the scene of a foreign-backed crisis since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people in total since March 2011.

The United Nations has stopped counting the death toll in Syria, citing widespread violence across the country as well as complexities in checking the credibility of the statistics provided by the government and other sources.

Iran and Russia have been helping the Syrian government in its anti-terror battles.

Iranian military experts have been giving advisory assistance to Syrian army troops, while Moscow’s air force has been providing cover for military operations on the ground.

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