Iran Daily: Amid Syrian Difficulties, Tehran & Russia Continue Talks

Facing difficulties in Syria’s 5 1/2-year conflict, Iran and Russia continue their political discussions on Monday. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov has arrived in Tehran for conversations with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Jaberi Ansari.

15 Aug 2016 – eaworldview – By Scott Lucas – The discussions come amid a rebel offensive that has changed the balance of fighting for Syria’s largest city Aleppo, breaking a regime siege that had been enabled by intense Russian airstrikes and Iranian and Iranian-led forces on the ground.

After a series of military setbacks since April, Tehran and Moscow had hoped that the siege, imposed last month, would finally put down opposition inside Aleppo and lead to a conclusion of the civil war.

In recent weeks, Iran and Russia have concentrated on trying to separate Turkey, one of the most significant backers of the Syrian rebellion, from the opposition and rebels. Tehran put out loud expressions of support for the Turkish Government immediately after a failed coup on July 15.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin met Iranian counterpart Hassadn Rouhani at a summit in Azerbaijan. Putin then hosted Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Moscow, followed by Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif’s trip to Ankara.

Turkey has spoken of reconciliation with Russia and even co-operation after last November’s downing of a Russian warplane near the Turkish-Syrian border. However, reports indicate that it has continued to support rebels in northwest Syria, including supply of weapons for the offensive in and near Aleppo. Presidents of Iran and Russia, who were in Baku to participate in a trilateral summit with their Azeri counterpart, Ilham Aliyev, stressed the importance of accelerating the development of bilateral relations in all fields, saying Tehran and Moscow need to make more efforts to speed up the development of all-out cooperation.

Iran and Russia are Syria’s main allies against the various foreign-backed armed groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, including Daesh terrorists.

Since September 30, 2015, Russia has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria at the Syrian government’s request.Iran has also been providing advisory military assistance to the Syrian government.Syria has been gripped by a foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict.