Muallem defends Iran’s presence in Syria

Tasnim – Foreign Minister of Syria Walid Muallem voiced support for Iran’s presence in his country and its advisory assistance at the request of Damascus, saying the Russian-made S-300 air defense system would help Syria combat the threats posed by the Israeli regime.

In an interview with RT Arabic in New York, Muallem dismissed the Western opposition to the presence of Iranian forces in Syria.

Iran has provided legal advisory help for Syria at the request of Damascus, while the US presence in the Arab country is “hostile and invasive” and an act of occupation, the top diplomat added.

Hailing Syria-Iran ties as relations between two independent and sovereign states, Muallem said his country will never bargain over Iran.

Denouncing the Zionist regime of Israel’s overt threats against the presence of Iran in Syria, he said the S-300 air defense missile system would guarantee a response to the Israeli threats.

The foreign minister finally underscored that Syria will retake control of the northern province of Idlib either through peaceful measures or other approaches.

Syria was gripped by civil war in 2011 and various foreign-backed terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), poured to the Arab country to topple the Damascus government.

The war has reportedly claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.