Russia Envoy Defends Iran’s Presence in Syria

Russia Envoy Defends Iran’s Presence in SyriaRussia Envoy Defends Iran’s Presence in Syria

Russia’s ambassador to Israel on Monday defended Iran’s crucial role in the campaign against terrorism in  Syria, adding that calls for the withdrawal of foreign forces from the Arab country are “unrealistic”.

“They [Iranians] are playing a very, very important role in our common and joint effort to eliminate terrorists in Syria,” Anatoly Viktorov told Israel’s Channel 10 television in an interview, Reuters reported.

That is why, for this period of time, Moscow sees as “unrealistic” any demands to request the withdrawal of any foreign troops from the entirety of the Syrian Arab Republic, he added.

“We can talk with our Iranian partners very frankly and openly, trying to persuade them to do or not to do something,” he said. But asked whether Russia can compel Iran to quit Syria, he answered, “We cannot.”

The ambassador said Russia could equally do nothing to prevent Israeli military strikes in the Arab country.

“We cannot dictate to Israel how to proceed...It is not up to Russia to give Israel freedom to do anything, or to prohibit Israel to do anything,” he said, while expressing disapproval of the attacks on Syria.  

Iran has repeatedly said its forces are in Syria in an advisory role and at the request of the government of  President Bashar al-Assad.

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