Under deal, Iran will remain in Syria and assist in reconstruction, as well as defense cooperation with Syrian army; Report claims US offered to leave Syria if Iran withdraws from southern Syria- Assad rejects offer.
Syria and Iran signed a defense cooperation and reconstruction deal on Monday.
Iranian Defense Minister, Amir Hatami, met with both President Bashar al-Assad and Syria’s Defense Minister, Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, as part of his two-day visit in Syria. Hatami was quoted stating to the press on Monday that Iran will continue its presence in Syria and assistance of the Syrian army, stating “No third party can affect the presence of Iranian advisers in Syria.”
On Syria’s civil war and Iran’s commitment to its reconstruction, Hatami stated “Syria is at a very, very important juncture. It is passing through the critical stage and it is entering the very important stage of reconstruction.”
Meanwhile, reports surfaced in Arab media that the United States offered Assad to remove US forces from Syria if Iranian forces were to withdraw from southern Syria. The report, first released by Hezhollah’s Al-Akhbar, claimed that Assad rejected the offer following a secret meeting between a US defense officials with Syrian counterparts.
The report claimed that the American delegation also requested intelligence information on terrorism plots on the West, as well as rights for energy companies in southern Syria.
Israel has been clear that Iran’s presence on its borders is a red line. After ISIS and rebel forces were forced out of southern Syria last month, the Syrian army took over region for the first time in seven years. Not only does Iran’s military “advisors” assist the Syrian army, it has several research and production sites for missiles and chemical weapons, many of which has been hit by IDF strikes in the past two years. It also has planned and attempted to carry out attacks on Israel under the guise of the Syrian army.
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