Gen. Baqeri Signs Military-Security Deal in Damascus
DAMASCUS (Dispatches) -- Iran plans to strengthen Syria’s air defense systems as part of a military agreement between the allies, Chief of Staff of Iran’s armed forces Major General Muhammad Baqeri said here on Wednesday.
"We will strengthen Syria’s air defense systems in order to improve military cooperation between the two countries,” he said after arriving for an official visit. The deal will "further enhance our will... to confront pressures by America,” he added.
The occupying regime of Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of an imposed war there in 2011, targeting government troops and their allies in a bid to stop their advances and prevent the defeat of foreign-backed terrorists.
Iran’s IRIB broadcaster published on its website a video of the deal being signed in Damascus by Gen. Baqeri and Syria’s Defense Minister Ali Ayoub.
It showed an Iranian military spokesman reading a joint statement saying the "comprehensive military-security agreement” aims to "confront increasing dangers and Takfiri terrorism supported by international and regional powers”.
The joint statement also emphasized "the necessity of the withdrawal of all foreign armed forces having entered Syria illegally”.
The agreement, it said, was the result of years of military, security and technical coordination and cooperation in various areas of joint fight against terrorism.
Along with Moscow, Tehran is one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main allies in the war that has ravaged the country since 2011, killing more than 380,000 people and displacing millions.
Gen. Baqeri lashed out at the U.S. for imposing new sanctions on Syria under the Caesar Act which seeks to punish any company that works with the Arab country, casting a cloud over efforts to rebuild it.
It seeks to prevent any normalization with President Assad’s government, and also blocks U.S. reconstruction assistance.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called the sanctions "the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure” to deny revenue to Syria.
Ayoub, for his part, lauded Damascus-Tehran relations. "If the American administrations had been able to subjugate Syria, Iran and the axis of resistance, they would not have hesitated for a moment,” he said.
He described the occupying regime of Israel as a "powerful partner” of the U.S. in the war against Syria, adding terrorist groups constituted part of the Zionist force of aggression.