Iran says it has no plans to pull out of Syria


Iran is coordinating with Damascus and Moscow the issue of its presence in Syria this Friday, which does not concern Israel, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on global affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, said at the Valdai Discussion Club.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Federation on Wednesday that Israel would not seek to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but that Moscow, his key ally, should encourage Iranian forces to quit Syria, a senior Israeli official said. The two countries support President Bashar al-Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war.

Israel, for its part, has repeatedly warned of Iran's growing footprint and says it will not allow Iran or its Shiite proxies to establish a permanent presence in a postwar Syria.

Iran denies involvement and Velayati rejected the accusations as a lie in a 2015 interview with Argentine television channel C5N.

He said had it not been for the assistance of Iran and Russian Federation, the head of An-Nusra Front in Syria and Abu bakr al-Baghdadi in Iraq would now be ruling there.

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"We'll see what happens when the two of them get together", Bolotn stated. "We will deal with the American presence from Syria to Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen and north Africa".

"In these messages, our country's views and stances regarding the US' selfish and illegal behavior are explained to other countries", he said.

Velayati is in Russian Federation as a special adviser to President Hassan Rouhani and will travel to China on Friday, so the same request has also been made to Chinese authorities, the foreign ministry said in a statement. "Sometimes we will play our role in Syria open-handed, sometimes we will do it with our hands hidden". The 2011 Daraa protests and the Syrian government's crackdown were widely considered to have helped spark the armed rebellion that once saw opposition fighters in control of most of the country.

The military targeted Syrian military positions on Thursday in response.

I don't trust Russian Federation to police Iran or anyone else in Syria. They are ready to move west to the frontier near the Golan Heights on Israel's border, triggering concerns of a showdown between Israel and Iranian-backed forces nearby.