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.

 

Iraq PM plans to implement constitutional reform

Two Iraqi generals in Anbar suicide bomb attack

Syria regime, rebels agree new 48-hour truce for three towns

S.Sudan govt calls peace deal 'reward for rebellion'

Tehran's shoe-shine man in a red stiletto

Serbia, Macedonia urge EU action on migrants

South Sudan peace deal given cautious welcome

IS seizes five villages from rebels in Syria's Aleppo

Shebab gunmen ambush Somali army convoy

Muslims not doing enough to fight IS: Queen Rania

Lebanon charges radical Islamist Al-Assir with 'terrorism'

Qaeda group blows up Yemen army HQ in Mukalla

Palestinian rivals agree ceasefire in Lebanon camp

New migrant tragedy in Mediterranean: 40 people dead, 2,000 in danger

Saudi King to meet Obama next month on first trip to US as monarch

Turkey PM invites pro-Kurdish MPs into caretaker cabinet

Car bomb attack kills Syria opposition commander in Turkey

Arab League postpones meeting on joint military force

Erdogan sends clear message to voters: It’s either AKP or instability!

South Sudan leader meets regional leaders ahead of peace deal

Saudi Arabia ‘holding’ key suspect in 1996 Khobar bombing

Israel releases second group of migrants from desert facility

US military may have skewed reports on progress against ISIS

Aid groups launch joint call to end Gaza blockade

Qaeda in Yemen denies having held British hostage rescued by UAE

Europe fails to overcome divisions as refugee crisis accelerates

European ministers to discuss security measures after France train attack

ISIS claims bloody attack on Egypt security forces in Sinai

Saudi executes four despite moratorium call

Afghan mercenaries in Syria: Iran presses ahead with covert recruitment

Record numbers of migrants crossing into Hungary

Kuwait summons Iran envoy over disputed gas field

French prosecutors say train attack was 'targeted and premeditated'

Iran film premieres about prophet postponed

Assad 'confident' Russian will continue supporting his Syria regime

France sees Assad's 'neutralisation' as pre-condition for peace

Meeting of Lebanon cabinet ends with no solution to trash crisis

Anti-nuclear deal protest held outside Iran parliament

Turkey to hold snap elections on November 1

Illegal migrant workers in Britain may face up to six months in jail

Red Cross temporarily suspends operations in Aden

UN watchdog seeks to soothe concerns on Iran nuclear probe

Austria to deploy army in migrant crisis

Israel releases hundreds of migrants from desert detention centre

Three killed in Algeria flooding