SNSC Chief: Tehran-Moscow Coop. on Syria Strategic

SNSC Chief:  Tehran-Moscow Coop. on Syria StrategicSNSC Chief:  Tehran-Moscow Coop. on Syria Strategic

A senior security official said Iran's assistance to Russia to facilitate its strikes on militants in Syria is part of strategic cooperation between the two countries to help end the Syria war.

"Tehran-Moscow cooperation is strategic and we have been sharing equipment and capabilities," Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani said in an interview with IRNA on Tuesday in response to reports that Iran has allowed Russia to use its airspace for strikes on targets in Syria.

Iran and Russia have been supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in a five-year war against a patchwork of armed rebel groups that enjoy the support of a coalition of western and regional powers.

Countries involved in the Syria peace talks, known as the International Syria Support Group, agreed in a November meeting on a roadmap outlining a peace process that envisaged a ceasefire, talks between the Syrian government and opposition and a roughly two-year timeline to establish a unity government and hold elections.

A "cessation of hostilities" brokered in February by the United States and Russia, which represent Assad's supporters and opponents respectively, has been strained to breaking point by frequent violations, which each side blames on the other.

It does not include designated terrorists, including the self-styled Islamic State and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.

"Constructive and close cooperation among Iran, Russia, Syria and the resistance front (referring to groups such as Lebanon's Hezbollah) has put terrorists in a difficult situation. This cooperation will continue until their total elimination," Shamkhani said.