A little girl rescued from the rubble of destroyed buildings after an air strike on the rebel-held Salihin neighbourhood of Aleppo
Middle East Eye
Tehran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah back ceasefire in Syria, but call for “monitoring system” and “relentless war against the terrorists”.
Iran welcomed the proposed ceasefire in Syria brokered by Russia and the United States, but said a monitoring system was needed to stop it being exploited by “terrorists”.
“Iran welcomes any establishment of a ceasefire in Syria and facilitating of access of all people of this country to humanitarian aid,” said foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi.
“Given the experience of a few months ago, the ceasefire must be sustainable… and must not be exploited as an opportunity for terrorist groups to revive their power and transfer fighters and weapons,” he added, referring to a truce that collapsed earlier this year.
“The continuation and sustainability of a ceasefire relies on the creation of a comprehensive monitoring mechanism, in particular control of borders in order to stop the dispatch of fresh terrorists, as well as weapons and financial resources for the terrorists,” said Ghasemi.
He said Iran, a principle backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has always called for a political solution to the crisis.
Ghasemi also called for humanitarian aid to reach all parts of Syria “without discrimination… in particular those areas under the control or siege of terrorist groups where less attention has been paid”.
Hezbollah back truce
Hezbollah, which has received military and financial support from Iran, also announced its support for a US-Russia truce deal for Syria.
The Lebanese Shia militia has dispatched between 5,000 to 8,000 fighters to bolster the Syrian army.
In a statement published late Saturday on its official media arm al-Manar, the group’s unnamed “field commander for Syria operations” said Hezbollah “stands with the ceasefire”.
“Syria’s allies are completely committed to what the Syrian leadership, government, and security and political forces have decided in terms of the ceasefire”, the statement said.
But it pledged to pursue an “open, relentless war against the terrorists” of the Islamic State group and al-Nusra Front, which changed its name to Fateh al-Sham Front after renouncing its ties to al-Qaeda.
The new ceasefire, agreed as part of a landmark deal brokered by Russia and the US, was set to begin on early next week. A barrage of air strikes on rebel-held areas in Syria killed scores of people just hours after Assad’s government approved the truce deal.