Russia, Iran to cooperate over Syria conflict

Presidents of Russia and Iran agree on coordination over Syrian war during phone call

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin ® during the 4th Caspian Summit on September 29, 2014 in Astrakhan, Russia.

The presidents of Russia and Iran agreed on Monday to step up bilateral contacts, including the Syrian conflict, in which both countries are allies of Bashar al Assad.

The Syrian regime representatives and Western-backed opposition are currently holding UN-mediated peace talks as part of a diplomatic push launched with US-Russian support to end the five-year conflict, in which around half a million people have been killed.

The Kremlin said Putin and Iran's Hassan Rouhani had exchanged views on the conflict and a range of other topical issues during a telephone call. It gave no further details.

Rouhani was quoted as saying cooperation and coordination between Tehran and Moscow were essential for peace in Syria.

"During the ceasefire, the political talks [among Syrian groups] should be accelerated, but this should not halt the fighting against terrorists in Syria," Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted the president as saying.

Both the Kremlin and the secretary of the Iranian National Security Council (NSC) have congratulated Assad on the success of his forces in recapturing the desert city of Palmyra from DAESH terrorists. NSC Secretary Ali Shamkhani was quoted as saying "The Iranian government and armed forces will continue their full support of Syria.”

Syrian regime forces backed by heavy Russian air support drove DAESH out of Palmyra on Sunday. Palmyra was seized by DAESH last year and its ancient temples were dynamited.

The Kremlin said on Monday that Russian ground forces did not take part in the Syrian regime's operation to drive DAESH terrorists out of the city of Palmyra, but the Russian air force did.

"We are talking about air support by our planes. Our armed forces are not conducting any land operations there," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a teleconference with reporters.

"After the withdrawal of part of our [military] contingent from Syria, air force units remaining at two bases - in Hmeymim and Tartous - will continue fighting terrorist groups.”

TRTWorld, Reuters