June 10 – Scott Lucas – eaworldview – The Defense Ministers of Iran, Syria, and Russia have promised a “decisive fight” against President Assad’s opponents in the Syrian civil war. The three men — Iran’s Hossein Dehghan, Syria’s Fahd Jassem al-Freij, and Russia’s Sergei Shoigu — spoke after a hastily-arranged meeting in Tehran on Thursday.
The discussions were held after a series of defeats of Iranian-led forces by rebels near Syria’s largest city Aleppo. The rebel bloc Jaish al-Fatah has retaken much of the territory claimed by last autumn’s regime-Iranian-Hezbollah offensives, supported by thousands of Russian airstrikes. Dehghan said in a press conference: We made decisions for what must be done on the regional and operational levels in an agreed upon and coordinated manner….
The terrorists and their supporters must know that the group fighting against them is determined to support this route until the end and will do so.
He blamed foreign powers for the difficulty in overcoming the challenge to the Assad regime: “The aggressive policy based on hegemony, which is being pursued by the United States, Israel and some other countries, which patronize terrorism, stands behind the current regional crisis.”
A Russian Defense Ministry statement was more cautious, saying only that the meeting considered “priority measures in reinforcing the cooperation” between the three countries against the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra.
Syrian State media quoted al-Freij as saying, “For over five years Syria has been confronting Takfiri terrorism led by the US which exerted immense efforts to fight Syria, making it imperative for us to confront terrorism.”
“A Comprehensive Ceasefire”
Despite his tough rhetoric, Dehghan made no commitment to an escalation in Iran’s intervention, in which Tehran has put in commanders and troops and led Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani militias.
Instead, the Defense Minister put emphasis on the political:
We believe that a comprehensive ceasefire, the establishment of relief clinics, and humanitarian efforts, while also preventing the support of terrorist groups and taking decisive military action against the terrorists, are the first steps for restoring security and stability to the region. Iran always supports negotiations and solutions to the political crisis by negotiations….We support a ceasefire that will not cause a renewal of terrorism in the country.Dehghan made no reference to the situation around Aleppo. Nor he did note that it is the Assad which is blamed for blocking humanitarian efforts, including aid to besieged areas. www.mesop.de