Assad vows to continue working with Iran

2017-05-21 15:01
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. (File, AFP)

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad. (File, AFP)

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Damascus - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday lauded his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani on his election victory and vowed to continue co-operating with Tehran, a key Damascus supporter.

Assad congratulated Rouhani on winning a second term and for earning "the trust the Iranian people gave him to continue bolstering Iran's position and role," according to a statement.

The Syrian president stressed the need to "continue working and co-operating with the Islamic Republic of Iran to strengthen the security and stability of both countries, the region and the world".

Iran, alongside Russia, is a key supporter of Assad, in power for 17 years and engaged in a devastating six-year war against a multitude of rebel and jihadist forces.

Military support

Iran has sent to Syria military advisers as well as thousands of "volunteer" fighters recruited among its own nationals as well as the Shi'ite communities in neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan since the conflict broke out in March 2011.

Fighters from Iran-backed Lebanese armed Shi'ite movement Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi'ite militias are also battling alongside Syrian regime forces.

According to a report published in March, about 2 100 combatants sent by Iran have died in Syria and Iraq.

Iranian and Russian military support, as well as that of Hezbollah, have helped the Syrian regime win key victories against rebel and jihadist forces.

Syria's conflict has killed more than 320 000 people, displaced millions and ravaged the country's economy and infrastructure.

Read more on:    bashar al-assad  |  hassan rouhani  |  iran  |  syria

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