US Wants to Retain Terrorists in Mideast

US Wants to Retain Terrorists in MideastUS Wants to Retain Terrorists in Mideast

Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan censured Washington's lack of seriousness in the fight against the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group, saying the US has nurtured militants and now wants them to remain in the Middle East.

"The western coalition is of a formal nature, they have no real intention to fight either in Syria or in Iraq. We don't see any readiness on their part to play a truly useful and meaningful role in fighting Daesh [an Arabic acronym for IS], because they have fostered the terrorists and are interested in keeping them there," Dehqan said in an interview with RT published on Tuesday, Press TV reported. He noted that Iran has never made any coordination in its anti-terror operations with the US and "will never collaborate" with it.

The military coalition established by western governments to allegedly combat terrorism is likely to "see terrorists weakened, but certainly not destroyed", the defense chief said.  "Terrorist groups are merely a tool in the hands of western governments to destabilize the Middle East and some other parts of the world."

The minister emphasized that the US, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are supporting terrorists in Syria, including the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham terrorist group, Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

  Turkish Coop. Crucial

Dehqan said Turkey also supports terrorists, particularly IS and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, adding, "If Iran, Russia and Syria were to reach an agreement with Turkey to end Turkish support for those terrorist groups … and start fighting them, then I think we would see the situation in Syria improve."

He underlined that any nationwide ceasefire in Syria requires guarantees, urging all parties to meet the conditions for a truce. Dehqan said no terrorist should be involved in the ceasefire and called on all other groups to start a "political process and negotiations with the Syrian government".

He highlighted the importance of putting an end to political, financial and military support for terrorists and launching an all-out campaign against them.

The defense minister held talks with his Russian and Turkish counterparts, Sergei Shoigu and Fikri Isik, in Moscow on December 20 about the latest developments in the region and the situation on the ground in Syria, especially in Aleppo. During the meeting, Dehqan praised military cooperation between Ankara and Moscow in Syria. The Syrian military announced on December 22 that it had attained full control of the strategic northwestern city of Aleppo, having completely cleansed its eastern side of militants for the first time since 2012.

Russia has been carrying out an aerial campaign against militants in Syria, including Aleppo, upon the request of the Syrian government. Iran, too, has been offering Damascus advisory military help.


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