Iran military advisory forces will leave Syria after terror fight success: Diplomat
A senior Iranian official says Iranian military advisory forces entered Syria at the request of the Syrian government and will leave the Arab country after the success of the fight against terrorism.
Hossein Jaberi Ansari, the Iranian foreign minister’s senior assistant for special political affairs, made the remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Syrian peace conference in the Russian resort of Sochi on Tuesday.
“Iranian forces entered Syria at the request of the Syrian government in order to help Syrian government in the battle against terrorism in Syria,” said Jaberi Ansari, who was leading the Iranian delegation in Sochi.
“It is obvious that once their job is finished, after their mission is accomplished they will withdraw from the Syrian territory, in agreement with Syria,” he added.
Sochi hosts talks between the Syrian government and the opposition in the hope of paving the way for a peaceful settlement of the conflict gripping the Arab state.
The Syrian Congress of National Dialog started out on Monday and continued on Tuesday. The talks are moderated by Russia and Iran, on the side of Damascus, and Turkey, which aligns itself with several armed opposition groups.
In a meeting in Tehran on January 17 with Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Speaker of People’s Council of Syria Hammouda Youssef Sabbagh said Iran has helped Damascus foil major plots against the Arab country.
Sabbagh lauded Iran’s support for his country, saying that the Islamic Republic had stood by Syria in the harshest times.
Iran has been providing military advisory support to Syria as well as Iraq in their campaign against terrorism at the request of the two countries’ governments.
Only Syrians must decide their fate: Sochi statement
Participants in the Syrian peace conference in Sochi urged respect for the country’s territorial integrity and said only the Syrian people should decide the shape of their government, according to a final statement obtained by Reuters.
It added that the Syrian people are entitled to choose their own political system and endorsed a “democratic” path for the country through elections.
The statement said the participants had agreed on “basic principles” deemed essential for saving Syria after nearly seven years of war.
It called for preservation of Syrian army and its role in protecting the country’s borders, facing foreign threats and fighting terrorism.
The Sochi statement emphasized that Syria’s security organs should be maintained and must operate in accordance with the law.
It also stressed equality in rights among all Syrians regardless of their religion or ethnicity.
The Sochi discussions were meant to build on the results of many rounds of negotiations between Damascus and the opposition, which were held in the Kazakh capital of Astana last year.
The Astana process came after the guarantor states helped bring a ceasefire to Syria’s second city of Aleppo, and then to entire Syria, which has been witnessing foreign-backed militancy since 2011.
It resulted in the establishment of four deescalation zones across Syria, and was hailed by the United Nations for its contribution to a parallel process, which the world body has been mediating between Damascus and the oppositionists in Geneva.
Iran diplomat, UN envoy meet
Also on Tuesday, Jaberi Ansari held talks with United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura.
The two sides stressed the importance of continuing consultation and cooperation to find a peaceful solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria.
Iran, China envoys discuss Syria
Meanwhile, in a meeting between Jaberi Ansari and China’s Ambassador to Syria, Qi Qianjin, the two sides discussed the latest developments in Syria.
The Iranian and Chinese envoys called for the strengthening of cooperation on ways to solve the Syria crisis and the battle against terrorism.