Iran, Russia, Syria to Step Up Anti-Terror Battle

Iran, Russia, Syria to  Step Up Anti-Terror Battle Iran, Russia, Syria to  Step Up Anti-Terror Battle

Iran, Russia and Syria agreed to boost cooperation in their campaign against terrorist groups which have wreaked havoc in Syria and the strategic region.

The agreement came in a trilateral meeting among Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan and his Russian and Syrian counterparts, Sergei Shoigu and Fahd Jassim al-Freij, in Tehran on Thursday.

"We decided on what needs to be done on the operational levels in the region," Press TV quoted Dehqan as saying after the meeting.

"Terrorists and their backers must know that the group fighting against them is determined to stay the course until the end," Dehqan said.

Syria has been the scene of a foreign-backed insurgency since March 2011, which according to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people.

Iran and Russia are Syria's main allies against various militant groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad, including the so-called Islamic State and the al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front. Iranian military experts have been giving advisory assistance to the Syrian troops, while Moscow's air force has been providing cover for military operations on the ground.

  Actions and Hollow Slogans

Speaking earlier in the meeting, Dehqan denounced the US, Saudi Arabia and some other states for supporting militants in Syria, which they label as "moderate rebels". He said the backing is a proof that they are not serious in fighting terrorism and their actions are contrary to their hollow anti-terror slogans, IRNA reported.  

"We hope that with consultation and cooperation, we can bring peace to the Middle East nations by neutralizing a dangerous plot that involves undermining the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of regional countries," he said.

"Establishing a comprehensive ceasefire, providing humanitarian aid while preventing [certain countries from] arming and supporting terrorist groups, and fighting a decisive battle against all terrorist groups are basic steps toward restoring peace and stability to the region," he noted. It should be guaranteed that the ceasefire will not lead to the strengthening of terrorists operating in war-ravaged Syria, the defense chief said.

He added that besides fighting terrorism, the ground should be prepared for nations in conflict-ridden countries, including Syria and Yemen, to determine their own future in free elections.

On the sidelines of the meeting, the Secretary of Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani met separately with Shoigu and Freij to discuss regional conflicts and ways to help return peace and stability to the region.