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Iran ready to help Syria boost its defense, deterrent power: Defense minister

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani (4th R) and his Syrian counterpart Ali Mahmoud Abbas (3rd L) meet in Tehran on March 16, 2024. (Photo by Tasnim news agency)

Iran's Defense Minister Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Ashtiani has stated that Iran is prepared to utilize its full capabilities to assist Syria in enhancing its defense and deterrent power against the US and Israel.

In a meeting with his Syrian counterpart Ali Mahmoud Abbas in Tehran on Saturday, Ashtiani warned against plots by the United States and Israel to intensify crisis across West Asia.

"Any strategic mistake and adventure of the US and the Zionist regime will lead to the worsening of the situation in the region," he said.

He condemned Israel's airstrikes against Syria and violation of its territorial integrity, saying the regime seeks to destroy the country's infrastructure such as airports and ports and hit convoys carrying fuel and food under the pretext of fight against the resistance front.

The Iranian defense chief expressed confidence that Israel's attacks are rooted in the regime's fear and failures.

He stressed the importance of reinforcing deterrence in countering Israel's attacks and noted that "necessary and urgent" measures and plans are on the agenda to counter the regime's aggression.

Ashtiani emphasized that the US's "illegitimate, occupying, illegal and unjustifiable" military presence in Syria is a blatant violation of the fundamental principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.

The destructive performance of the US in West Asia, particularly in Syria, has only led to instability, insecurity and displacement of millions of Syrians, he said.

The Iranian defense minister stressed the need to boost Syria's defense capability and implement bilateral agreements in this regard, saying the two countries should hold constant consultations given the ongoing developments in the region.

Pointing to the sensitive and complicated situation in the region, he said more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed and over 70,000 injured during Israel's genocidal war on Gaza over the past five months.

He criticized the United Nations and Security Council for failing to fulfill their international responsibility vis-a-vis Israel's war crimes and genocide in Gaza, emphasizing that the regime will definitely fail to achieve any of its goals in the Strip.

Tel Aviv has significantly ramped up the strikes against Syria since last October, when it began the genocidal war against the Gaza Strip.

Damascus has repeatedly complained to the United Nations over the Israeli assaults, urging the Security Council to take action against Tel Aviv’s crimes. Its demands have, however, fallen on deaf ears.

The Syrian defense minister, for his part, said the developments in Gaza and massacre of the innocent Palestinian people exposed Israel's flimsy power and disclosed the hypocritical nature of the US and West.

Abbas added that the child-killing Israeli regime mounted tensions in the region, particularly in Syria and Lebanon, after it failed to achieve its goals in Gaza and used support of the resistance front and Iran for the oppressed Palestinian people as a pretext.

He noted that the illegal presence of the US in Syria has turned the country into a base to support separatist and terrorist groups.

Resistance and enhanced defense cooperation between Tehran and Damascus are the best ways to counter enemies, he pointed out.

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