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: Syria’s 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.


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