Iran rejects Turkey’s demand that Hizbullah withdraw from Syria

by WorldTribune Staff, January 4, 2017

Iran has denied reports that fighters from its terror proxy Hizbullah will leave Syria after last week’s ceasefire deal brokered by Turkey and Russia.

Hizbullah fighters in Syria. /Reuters
Hizbullah fighters in Syria. /Reuters

“The claim that Hizbullah would leave Syria after the ceasefire is mere propaganda by the enemy,” Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said at a press briefing in Teheran on Jan 3.

Turkey had demanded that Hizbullah fighters withdraw from Syria after the ceasefire, according to reports last week.

The Iranian-funded Hizbullah troops have been fighting alongside Assad regime forces in Syria for the past five years. Observers estimate Hizbullah has lost some 1,500 fighters in the Syrian conflict, including several high-ranking commanders.

Velayati stressed that Iran will continue to back the resistance fronts in Syria, including Hizbullah, “fully and continuously.”

Meanwhile, Syrian opposition groups announced on Jan. 3 they would not take part in the upcoming talks in the Kazakh capital Astana, which are being promoted by both Turkey and Russia.

In a joint statement, opposition groups said continued aggression by the Assad regime and its allies in Syria constituted a breach of the ceasefire deal that went into effect on Dec. 30.

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