A senior Iranian commander says the country’s military advisors will maintain their presence in Syria, giving more details about a military cooperation agreement reached between Tehran and Damascus this week.
Iran’s Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami and his Syrian counterpart, General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, signed an agreement on defense and technical cooperation in Damascus on Sunday.
The document “will define the areas of bilateral presence, participation, and cooperation” in defense ties, Hatami said, adding Syria has put the era of war behind it and has entered the era of reconstruction.
“The continuation of presence of Iranian (military) advisors in Syria was one of the points of the defense and technical agreement between Tehran and Damascus,” IRNA quoted Iran’s military and defense attaché to Damascus, Brigadier General Abolqassem Alinejad, as saying on Tuesday.
He added that the agreement was signed in line with the two countries’ will to improve cooperation.
He emphasized that the expansion of defense cooperation between Iran and Syria would help promote peace and stability in the Middle East.
The Iranian commander said the accord also stressed the importance of support for Syria’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, adding that it came into effect on the day of its conclusion.
According the agreement, Iran will help Syria in clearing minefields in different parts of the war-ravaged country given the Islamic Republic’s experience gained during the eight-year war imposed by the regime of Iraq’s former dictator Saddam Hussein, he added.
Iran also vowed to help Syria to reconstruct the military factories that were damaged in Syria’s seven-year war and rebuild its infrastructure, Alinejad said.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the country.
All initiatives with the purpose of putting an end to Syria’s seven-year-old conflict have failed so far.
Heading a high-ranking delegation, the Iranian defense minister arrived in Damascus on Sunday to discuss a number of important issues, including the latest regional developments, the fight against terrorism, the strengthening of the resistance axis and the study of strategies for expansion of defense and military cooperation.
In a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday, Hatami hailed the steadfastness of the Syrian people and government forces in their battle against terrorism, expressing confidence that they will achieve a final victory in this path.
“Not only regional people, but people around the world are indebted to the fight carried out against terrorists in Syria,” Hatami said.
Also in the meeting with his Syrian counterpart, the Iranian defense chief warned of extra-regional countries’ plots to sow discord in Syria, vowing the Islamic Republic’s full support for the war-ravaged country in a bid to preserve its territorial integrity and improve its stability.
“Iran will spare no effort to maintain Syria’s territorial integrity, because security in the country will help [improve] regional stability,” Hatami said.
Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said in May that the legitimate governments of Iraq and Syria have called for Iran’s military advisory presence in their countries in order to help them fight terrorism.
“The ire of the US and this country’s allies, who were the main creators and sponsors of Takfiri terrorism and the final losers of this battlefield, is understandable,” the SNSC secretary added.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton said last week that the United States and Israel agree that Iran should remove all its forces from Syria.