BEIRUT (Dispatches) – Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon says the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement and Iran, which have been helping the Syrian army in its counter-terrorism battles, should not withdraw from the Arab country until the elimination of all terrorists.
Speaking to the Beirut-based al-Nour radio station, Alexander Zasypkin dismissed calls by "the other camp” for Hezbollah and Iranian military advisory forces to pull out of Syria as an attempt to cause tension between Russia and its allies in Syria.
"It isn’t permissible and it isn’t allowed during these circumstances to discuss Hezbollah and Iran’s departure from Syria, especially since terrorism hasn’t been eliminated yet,” he said, according to a statement by Hezbollah.
Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against the terror groups. Hezbollah forces have also been aiding the Syrian government clear areas bordering Lebanon of terrorist groups.
Concerned over Syrian advances, the U.S. and the Zionist regime, which support anti-Damascus terrorists, have called for Iranian advisors and Hezbollah’s fighters to leave Syria.
In the latest developments, the Syrian army has reinforced its anti-aircraft defenses near the frontier with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a commander in the regional alliance that backs President Bashar al-Assad said on Tuesday.
Additional defenses are set to be deployed in the coming days, the commander told Reuters. The stationing of the Russian-made Pantsir S1 weapon aims "to renew the air defense system against Israel in the first degree”, added the commander, a non-Syrian who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Syria’s multi-sided war has pivoted toward the southwest in recent weeks, risking escalation in an area of major concern where the conflict has been contained since last year by an agreement underwritten by the United States and Russia.
The Zionist regime launches frequent attacks against targets inside Syria in what is widely viewed as an attempt to prop up the terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats at the hands of Syrian soldiers.
There has been a hike in strikes by the Zionist regime since the collapse late last year of the Daesh terror group, something that significantly demoralized the other terrorist groups operating against Damascus.
In one occasion, seven Iranian military advisors lost their lives as the Israeli aircraft violated Lebanon’s airspace to strike a Syrian army base in Homs Province in April.
Israel has also been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.
Zasypkin further denied the rumors regarding the alleged tensions between the Russian military and Hezbollah along the Lebanese-Syrian border.
"The other camp is focusing on this issue to sow doubt and cause problems between the Resistance axis and Russia; and this is not acceptable,” he said. "The relation between Russia and the Resistance axis in Syria is a relation of cooperation.”
The Russian envoy further criticized the U.S. presence in Syria as a major obstacle to resolving the crisis in the Arab country.
"The U.S. presence in Syria is a major cause behind the complications in this country, as well as behind the failure to reach solutions,” he added.
U.S. forces maintain significant presence in northern Syria, where they back Kurdish militants operating against the Syrian government. Washington has deployed around 2,000 troops to the Arab country.
Damascus has on several occasions written to the UN, complaining that the U.S. was flagrantly violating its sovereignty. The U.S. supports terrorists fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad and has repeatedly attacked Syrian army positions.
The Russian diplomat concluded that "Russia, like all countries, has the right to have its own strategic vision [for Syria], but in the end the decision goes back to the Syrian leadership, which is the only side that is allowed to make such decisions.”