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US wants to keep Daesh terrorists in Mideast: Iran

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan

Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan has slammed Washington's lack of seriousness in the fight against the Daesh terrorist group, saying the US has nurtured terrorists itself and now wants them to stay in the Middle East.

“The Western coalition is of a formal nature, they have no real intention to fight either in Syria or in Iraq. We don’t see any readiness on their part to play a truly useful and meaningful role in fighting Daesh, because it’s them who have raised terrorists and they are interested in keeping them there,” Dehqan said in an interview with RT published on Tuesday.

He added that Iran has never made any coordination in its anti-terror operations with the US and “will never collaborate” with it.

He said the military coalition established by Western governments allegedly to combat terrorism is likely to “see terrorists weakened, but certainly not destroyed.”

Terrorist groups are merely a tool in the hands of Western governments to destabilize the Middle East and some other parts of the world, he added.

The Iranian defense minister emphasized that the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting terrorists in Syria, including the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham militant group, al-Qaeda's Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

Dehqan said Turkey also supports terrorists, particularly Daesh and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, adding, “If Iran, Russia and Syria were to reach an agreement with Turkey to end Turkish support for those terrorist groups…and start fighting them, then I think we would see the situation in Syria improve.”

He further emphasized that any nationwide ceasefire in Syria requires guarantees, urging all parties to meet the conditions for a truce.

Dehqan said no terrorists should take part in the ceasefire and called on all other groups to start a “political process and negotiations with the Syrian government.”

He also stressed the importance of putting an end to political, financial and military support for terrorists and launching an all-out campaign against them.

The Iranian defense minister held talks with his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Sergei Shoigu and Fikri Isik, respectively, in Moscow on December 20 about the latest developments in the region and the situation on the ground in Syria, especially in Aleppo.

During the meeting, the Iranian defense minister praised military cooperation between Ankara and Moscow in Syria.

The Syrian military announced on December 22 that it had attained full control of the strategic northwestern  city of Aleppo, having completely cleansed its eastern side of militants for the first time since 2012.

Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign against militants in Syria, including formerly in Aleppo, on a request from the Syrian government. Iran, too, has been offering Damascus advisory military help.

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