Iran to preserve strategic ties with Syria: Velayati
A senior Iranian official has hailed the Syrian army’s latest triumph over foreign-backed terrorists in the flashpoint city of Aleppo, stressing that Tehran is set to maintain its “strategic ties” with Damascus.
Ali Akbar Velayati, a top adviser to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, made the remarks in a meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem in Tehran on Sunday.
“Aleppo’s liberation is a major victory, and Syria’s friends and enemies acknowledge it,” said Velayati.
The official further praised deep-rooted and longstanding ties between the Iranian and Syrian nations, adding that the Islamic Republic will preserve its “strategic” relations with the Arab country.
On Friday, the Syrian army announced a nationwide halt to fighting under a deal with the foreign-backed opposition.
The ceasefire, which does not apply to Daesh and Fateh al-Sham terrorist groups, came eight days after the Syrian military announced full control over Aleppo and called it a “crushing blow” to terrorists.
The Aleppo liberation came after the last remaining Takfiri elements were evacuated from the city along with civilians under a ceasefire deal mediated by Ankara and Moscow.
Muallem, for his part, called Aleppo’s recapture a joint victory for Syria and Iran.
Damascus has been seeking to bring an end to fighting and pave the way for intra-Syrian talks through cooperation between Iran, Russia and Syria, he added.
Touching on the upcoming Syria peace talks expected to take place in Kazakh capital city of Astana, the top Syrian diplomat said that for the discussions to be successful, armed groups have to distance themselves from Daesh and Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.
Members of the two terror outfits should also retreat from areas on the outskirts of Aleppo, he pointed out.
The Syrian foreign minister further thanked Iran’s Leader as well as its nation and government for supporting Syria in different areas, particularly in Damascus’ fight against terror and efforts to find a political solution to the crisis plaguing the Arab country since 2011.
Muallem also expressed his satisfactions with the trilateral Tehran-Moscow-Damascus cooperation, saying it has been fruitful in anti-terror battles.
He arrived in Tehran on Saturday at the head of a high-ranking delegation. He held talks with senior Iranian officials, including President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.