Muallem thanks Iran's aid, says U.S. presence in Syria 'illegitimate'
Muallem thanks Iran's aid, says U.S. presence in Syria 'illegitimate'
An Israeli soldier in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights. Getty Images
04 June, 2018, 08:55
But it appears only a matter of time before Damascus moves its forces south. Russian Federation has hinted that "foreign forces" should withdraw from Syria, and Israel has interpreted that to include Iran.
As the Syrian regime is building up for a major offensive in southern Syria, Israel has been pressuring Iran to leave Syria so it will not continue to benefit from the regime's gains. "Iran's presence is legitimate as it is based on the request of the Syrian government, unlike the presence of the United States", Muallem stressed.
"Of course, all non-Syrian forces should be withdrawn on a reciprocal basis", Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in late May.
"Since the beginning of the crisis, Iran has supported Syria in the war against terrorism backed and financed regionally and internationally..."
Since March 30, at least 120 Palestinians have been killed and thousands more injured by the Israeli army's gunfire near the Gaza-Israel border fence.
Tensions between Washington and Damascus boiled over in April, when US and allied warplanes launched a series of airstrikes against suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria.
In an interview with the Shargh daily published on Saturday, he said that Iran's defense strategy has been drawn up based on the experiences of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war and proportionate to threats.
Over the years, Israel has watched as different groups in southern Syria came to control different parts of the area near the Golan border.
Liberman visited Russian Federation with a defense establishment delegation, hoping to flesh out the understandings to give Syrian President Bashar Assad control over the Syria-Israel border region.
In the course of their recent advances in terrorist-held areas, Syrian government forces have discovered considerable amounts of Israeli-made munitions, including chemical warfare, digital equipment and drugs.
"We strongly support Russian efforts to drive terrorists out of the Syria-Jordan border and to bring the area under Syrian army control", the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said, as cited by Reuters.
Al-Muallem said that the Syrian regime has communicated with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is backed by the United States, but negotiations have not started as yet.
"As we have declared earlier, Iranian advisers have no presence in southern Syria", he said.
The Syrian government hopes to restore military presence in Daraa and Qunaitera after the evacuation of rebels, in order to control all border points between Daraa and Jordan as well as areas between Quanitera and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, while activating the 1974 Disengagement of Forces Agreement between Syria and Israel.
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