More Military Advisors Sent to Syria

More Military Advisors Sent to SyriaMore Military Advisors Sent to Syria

Iran has intensified support for the government forces in the Syria war by increasing its military advisors stationed in the Arab country, a deputy foreign minister says.

"We have added to our advisors in Syria. Our only aim is to help the fight against terrorism in this country," Hossein Amir Abdollahian was quoted by ISNA as saying on Wednesday.

Tehran has denied reports that it has a conventional force on the ground in Syria. Amir Abdollahian, who arrived in London Monday on a two-day trip at the invitation of the British Foreign Office, referred to those critical of Iran's role in Syria, saying they should redirect their criticisms at the governments that provide backing to terrorist groups.

"Everyone has realized that the ongoing conflict in Syria is the outcome of the support provided to terrorist organizations by a number of neighboring, regional and extra-regional states," he said in an address to top British political analysts and senior editors of the media in London on Tuesday.

"We deeply believe in efforts to help promote unity between Sunnis and Shias. We believe that Daesh is disgracing not only Sunnis but all Muslims," the Foreign Ministry official said in reference to the IS militant group.  "There is ample evidence that some non-regional intelligence services are backing terrorist groups in an attempt to set Sunnis and Shias against each other and thereby dividing Muslims."

A US- led coalition, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and neighboring Turkey, has been pounding IS militants operating in Syria in support of rebel groups which want to dislodge President Bashar al-Assad.

Russia and Iran, on the other hand, back Assad and have disputed the demand by his opponents that he cannot have a role in Syria's future.

  Cooperation With Russia

Amir Abdollahian stressed that cooperation between Iran and Russia will not be temporary and confined to helping address Syria's crisis.

"Tehran-Moscow relations will be long-standing and strategic," he said, adding, "The Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking to develop the same kind of ties with European countries."

Russia launched airstrikes in Syria late last month in a campaign it says is targeting IS fighters, who control large swaths of Syria and Iraq.

Asked whether Russia's military intervention would ultimately settle the conflict, the deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs said, "Such moves [as the Russian involvement] to contribute to the anti-terror campaign are definitely essential, but the ultimate solution will be a diplomatic not military one."