First Published: 2013-01-24

 

Iran offers grim prediction on Syria conflict: Peace unlikely in 2013

 

In grim assessment of nearly two years of conflict, Iran's ambassador to Baghdad says fighting in Syria is edging closer to civil war.

 

Middle East Online

Iran diplomat: Not all rebels can be called terrorists

BAGHDAD - Syria is unlikely to see peace in 2013 as the fighting in the strife-torn country edges closer to civil war, Iran's ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaie-Far said on Thursday.

In a grim assessment of nearly two years of conflict in Iraq's western neighbour, Danaie-Far said he believed that not all rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces can be called "terrorists," a term broadly used by the Syrian regime for insurgents.

"I believe it is far-fetched," he said when asked if he thought there could be peace in Syria this year.

"It is unlikely, but we have also noted there were some signals in the past one to two months," he added of remarks by UN peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi which he said Iran interpreted as marking the "end of the process of military options."

Tehran, a key ally of Damascus, has remained steadfast in its backing for Assad's regime since the Syrian uprising erupted in March 2011.

Speaking through an Iranian embassy Farsi-English translator, Danaie-Far said he believed the conflict, which the United Nations says has already left more than 60,000 people dead, "looks something like" a civil war.

"It is actually a combined form" of conflict, he said.

Specifically asked whether he believed some rebels had legitimate grievances, despite the regime branding them "terrorists," he said: "There are serious opponents and serious defenders and they are fighting together."

Danaie-Far said he did not believe that "anybody who objects (to) the Syrian government is a terrorist."

"They (rebels) have created the conditions where mercenary money and weaponry are injected into Syria."

The diplomat claimed that 70 percent of rebel-held territory was under the control of the jihadist Al-Nusra Front, which first gained notoriety for its suicide bombings in Syria.

The group has since evolved into a formidable fighting force leading attacks on battlefronts throughout the embattled country.

Its extremist tactics and suspected affiliation to the Al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq have landed it on the US list of foreign "terrorist" organisations.

 

Horse-trading begins as Tunisia awaits formation of new government

Israel closes al-Aqsa mosque to worshipers in rare move

UK court says Libyan Abdul-Hakim Belhaj can sue over rendition

Syria accuses Turkey of ‘flagrant violation of sovereignty’

Global campaign to end female genital mutilation kicks off

US to examine troops exposed to chemicals in Iraq

African Union hits back at Somalia rape claims

New scare in Turkey as ‘suspect packages’ found

‘Insults against Netanyahu’ cause embarrassment to US

Kuwait online activist gets four years in jail for insulting judges

Heavy fighting in South Sudan sparks fears of humanitarian catastrophe

Sweden officially recognises State of Palestine

Egypt jails retired general for damaging national security

Gaza civil servants receive delayed salaries

After US criticism, Israel vows no concessions to Palestinians

Libya internationally recognised PM opens doors of dialogue with rivals

Huthi rebels seize stronghold of Muslim Brotherhood in central Yemen

Will Nidaa Tounes shun Islamists in Tunisia government formation?

Egypt starts work on buffer zone along border with Gaza

Turkey Sultan unveils new palace: Another break with symbols of secular state

Heavy toll as ‘Islamic State’ fights for control of Syria oil field

Iran President suffers fresh setback with rejection of Science Minister

Nuclear deal or no deal: ‘Red lines’ lay bare internal divisions in Iran

Heavy security in Mogadishu as UN chief meets Somalia president

Fighters from Free Syrian Army leave Turkey to join Kobane battle

Israel denies banning Palestinians sharing buses

Kurd fighters leave northern Iraq base for Syria deployment

Jordan requests UN emergency meeting over Israel settler expansion

Jerusalem Mayor visits Al-Aqsa mosque prompting anger

Tunisia reinforces commitment to democracy with ‘transparent’ elections

Turkey ‘decides’ for Kobane future: No Kurds, no Assad... Only Free Syrian Army!

Bahrain suspends Al-Wefaq weeks before parliamentary elections

Huge game changer in Tunisia: ‘In-credible’ failure of Islamist Ennahda Party

Libya PM in Khartoum for talks with Bashir

PKK hijack truck seizing explosive substance

Saudi lawyers get jail time for offensive tweets

Ennahda concedes defeat in Tunisia parliamentary elections

Syria rebels launch assault on regime-held city of Idlib

Iraq peshmerga wait for Turkey stance to depart for Syria

Sisi enacts military trials decree to cover ‘existential threat’

US calls for online war against ‘Islamic State’

Donors pledge $8 billion for Horn of Africa

Acid attacks in Iran: Deputy of Judiciary Chief to lead investigation

Lebanon army enters Islamist stronghold in Tripoli

Israel approves plans for 1,000 settler homes in East Jerusalem