Iran’s ambassador to Syria says the Islamic Republic strongly rejects any form of occupation of Syria’s soil, be it the Golan Heights or elsewhere, and believes that all foreign forces will finally have to leave the Arab country.
In an interview with Lebanon’s al-Ahed news website published on Saturday, Mahdi Sobhani highlighted the necessity of changing the prevailing mentality about the security situation in Syria, saying the illegal presence of all occupying and terrorist forces must come to an end.
“Iran strongly condemns the occupation of Syria by any country or force, be it the Golan [Heights], or [any region] in the northwest or northeast of Syria,” Iran's ambassador said.
Israel occupied a large swathe of the Golan in 1976 and annexed it four years later – a move never recognized by the international community. The Israeli regime now plans to double the settler population in the Golan, prompting a UN General Assembly resolution last month in condemnation of the move.
The US has also been maintaining an illegal military presence on the Syrian soil, collaborating with militants against Syria’s legitimate government, and bombing the positions of the Syrian army and anti-terror popular forces.
The US military has stationed its forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria with the alleged aim of preventing the oilfields in the areas from falling into the hands of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Nonetheless, Damascus says the US military occupation of Syria is meant to plunder the country’s resources, including its oil.
‘US will have to leave Syria’
According to Sobhani, Syria’s enemies need to realize that their policy toward the country has failed and brought nothing but harm and destruction to regional nations.
“The [US] forces will be forced to leave Syrian territories. We cannot specify a time for this, but it must and will happen,” Iran's ambassador said.
The Iranian envoy added that unlike the Cold War era, when great powers determined the end game in West Asia, new powers are currently in control of the region’s affairs.
“The US is no longer able to determine the fate of the region as new powers have emerged, including the Axis of Resistance,” he elaborated, stressing that the regional game has completely changed.
Resistance forces in Syria and neighboring Iraq have ramped up pressure to expel American troops from their countries. In recent months, the US positions have been targeted repeatedly in both Arab countries.
‘Iran, Syria face economic war’
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since 2011, with the US and its Western and regional allies fixated on overthrowing the government of Bashar al-Assad.
Meanwhile, 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 terrorist groups.
Bilateral economic relations have also expanded as a result.
Last month, Damascus invited Iranian companies and advanced industries to invest in the country’s process of reconstruction.
Elaborating on the Tehran-Damascus economic and trade cooperation, Sobhani said in recent months, Damascus has hosted a number of exhibitions, which were attended by around 120 Iranian companies. This, he said, demonstrates Syria’s security and stability.
“The economic and trade cooperation between Iran and Syria and Iran’s participation in the reconstruction of Syria are important issues, because both countries are now at a sensitive juncture.”
The Iranian ambassador added that both Iran and Syria are grappling with an economic war, which includes extensive sanctions, waged by the United States and its allies.
"Therefore," Iran's ambassador said, "more focus must be put on economic and trade aspects" of relations between Iran and Syria.