Middle East

Iran's foreign minister meets with Syria’s Assad amid regional tensions

Top diplomat on 2-nation tour to Lebanon and Syria

Syed Zafar Mehdi  | 12.02.2024 - Update : 12.02.2024
Iran's foreign minister meets with Syria’s Assad amid regional tensions


Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met Sunday with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus on the second leg of a regional tour.

During the meeting, Amir-Abdollahian handed him an invitation from Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to visit Tehran, Iran's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Amir-Abdollahian deemed the visit of the Syrian president to Iran as key to further strengthening ties between the two countries, the statement noted.

On the first leg of his tour, Amir-Abdollahian met Saturday with senior Lebanese government officials as well as leaders of Palestinian groups based in Beirut.

During his meeting with Assad, he described Israel’s war on Gaza as the "main issue" at the regional and international level and said that both Tehran and Damascus have a "common position" on it.

He said the Raisi government has made "extensive diplomatic efforts" to stop the war, which has since Oct. 7 claimed over 28,000 lives, and made it known to both the US and the UK.

Echoing what he said in his joint press conference with his Lebanese counterpart Abdallah Bou Habib, Iran's top diplomat said if the US does not seek to expand the scope of the war in the region, it must stop supporting Israel.

He asserted that the Palestinian resistance groups are capable of administering both Gaza and the West Bank and those who sought to destroy Hamas have now realized the importance of engaging with them in cease-fire negotiations.

Assad extended his congratulations to Iran on the 45th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic revolution that overthrew the Pahlavi dynasty’s rule and established an Islamic republic, the statement noted.

He also accepted the invitation to visit Tehran and emphasized the importance of reviewing the status of the implementation of agreements between the two countries.

Iran's foreign minister also held extensive talks with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad on Sunday, which was followed by a joint press conference.

He told reporters that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot continue the war "even for an hour" without US support, adding that Washington is not in a position to speak of the need to end the war on Gaza while supplying Israel with weapons.

Amir-Abdollahian's visit to Syria came amid a string of attacks by the US and Israel targeting Damascus and its outskirts which have in recent weeks killed many Iranian military advisors.

Earlier this month, a purported Israeli missile strike targeted an area south of Damascus, killing a military advisor to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) identified as Saeid Alidadi.

Weeks before that, five IRGC military advisors were killed in an air raid on a residential building in Damascus which came after a top IRGC commander, Sayyed Razi Mousavi, was killed in a missile strike.

The US has also accused Iran-aligned groups based in Iraq of targeting its bases in both Iraq and Syria in recent weeks, including an attack on a military base near the Syria-Jordan border that killed three US soldiers.

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