Iranian top adviser says Tehran will stand with Syria against foreign strikes


By Middle East Affairs

The top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader said Wednesday that his country would support Syria against any foreign aggression, state TV and Reuters reported, seemingly as a response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to send a military strike on Syria.

After 60 civilians died of an alleged chemical attack in the Eastern Ghouta town of Syria on Saturday, Trump and several other world leaders accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and began discussing a unified response.

“We will stand by Syria’s government against any foreign aggression … Iran backs Syria in its fight against America and the Zionist Regime (Israel),” Ali Akbar Velayati said to state TV during his visit to eastern Ghouta in Syria.

14 people were killed Sunday, seven of them Iranian military personnel, in an air strike overnight Sunday on a Syrian air base. Iran, Russia and Syria have each blamed Israel for carrying out the attack on Tyias or T4, near Homs, which Israel neither confirms nor denies.

Iranian media reported Velayati as saying Tuesday in Syria that the strike would “not remain without response.”

Iran is Assad’s main regional ally and provides military and financial support for his seven-year civil war with many Sunni Muslim rebel and militant groups.

“Syria’s enemies are angry because of its military advances against terrorist groups,” Velayati said.

Tehran says it does not have armed forces in Syria, Reuters reports, but acknowledges that it has stationed military advisers and volunteers from the Revolutionary Guards Corps in Syria to help Assad’s military.

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