Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi reiterated Tehran’s policy of providing support for Damascus in the fight against terrorism and said the Islamic Republic’s advisory mission in Syria will continue as long as the Arab country’s government wants it.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Monday, Qassemi pointed to recent reports about Russia’s call for the withdrawal of all foreign military forces from Syria and said, “No one can force Iran to do anything.”
“As long as terrorism exists and the Syrian government wants, Iran will have presence (in the Arab country),” he stressed.
“Those who have entered Syria without the consent of the Syrian government should leave,” the spokesman added.
In comments published Friday, Russian presidential envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentiev confirmed that President Vladimir Putin’s remarks on the need to withdraw foreign troops from Syria had implied Iranian forces and Hezbollah fighters as well as Turkish and American troops.
On the heels of a meeting between Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Russian resort of Sochi on Thursday, Lavrentiev added, “This statement involves all foreign troops in Syria including the Turkish, American, Iranian and Hezbollah.”
Lavrentiev stressed that Putin’s statement on this issue represents a “political message”, but added “not to view it as the beginning of a withdrawal process of foreign troops from Syria.”
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (ISIS or ISIL), fighting against its central government.
In the meantime, Iran has remained a close ally of Syria and supported its legitimate government in the face of foreign-backed militancy.