First Published: 2013-01-14


Syria PM leads high-ranking delegation to valued ally Iran


Halaqi's trip comes as air strike kills 13 women, children, fuelling calls for war crimes probe into nearly two-year Syrian conflict.


Middle East Online

Iran: Syrias ally to bitter end

TEHRAN - Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi visits on Tuesday Iran, his country's key regional ally, a week after Syrian rebels freed 48 Iranians held hostage for more than five months, the foreign ministry said.

"The Syrian prime minister, leading a high-ranking political and economic delegation, arrives in Tehran tomorrow," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted by the ISNA news agency on Monday.

He did not provide further details about the visit.

Halaqi's trip comes as an air strike on a rebel town near Damascus killed 13 women and children on Monday, a watchdog said, fuelling international calls for a war crimes probe into the nearly two-year Syrian conflict.

On Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi urged Middle East nations to promote a solution for Syria's conflict that excludes "foreign intervention," after talks in Cairo with Egyptian leaders.

The renewed statement of Tehran's position on its key ally came as fighting dragged on in Syria, where more than 60,000 people have been killed since March 2011, according to a UN estimate.

It also came a day after the Damascus regime freed more than 2,100 of its detainees in exchange for 48 Iranians the Syrian rebels had been holding for more than five months.

Iran has repeatedly advocated a political solution and dialogue between the government and opposition groups to end the Syrian crisis and in October Salehi gave Syria peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi a six-point plan to end the crisis.

Tehran is committed to the survival of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime.

It has supplied financial aid and admitted to sending Revolutionary Guards military advisors to Damascus, but does not consider that "foreign" interference on its part.


Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Iraqis flock to flea market for relics of bygone era

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control

Egypt tries to contain Sudan but challenges, suspicions remain

US defence secretary presses Oman on Iran weapons smuggling

Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels

Hamas shutters mobile firm after Gaza attack on PM

Israel punishes family members of West Bank attacker

Syria opposition says UN 'failed to prevent' Assad 'crimes'

UK tries to soothe Egyptian anger over mob attack death

Hundreds of thousands flee in dual Syria assaults

Turkish Cypriots vow to stand firm in gas dispute

Intensifying assaults in Syria spark dual evacuations

Tearful reunions, uncertain fates for Syrians fleeing Ghouta