Iran Backs Russian Airstrikes in Syria

Iran says Russia's airstrikes against Syrian rebels will help solve the crisis in the country.

Ben Ariel ,

Airstrike in Syria (illustration)
Airstrike in Syria (illustration)

Iran on Thursday threw its support behind Russia's airstrikes in defense of their common ally, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, describing it as a step to solving "the crisis" in the region.

Iran's foreign ministry said it supported the move that was "based on an official request from the Syrian government to the Russian Federation", reported the AFP news agency.

"Iran sees the Russian military operation against armed terrorist groups in Syria as a step in the fight against terrorism that is in line with resolving the ongoing crisis in the region," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham was quoted as having said.

Iran, the Syrian government's key regional ally, has provided Assad with financial and military support, including army advisers on the ground.

"A real and thorough fight against terrorism, which is a common threat to regional and global peace and stability, is necessary," Afkham said in a statement quoted by AFP.

The fight requires "common international action based on cooperation with the Iraqi and Syrian governments that bear the main burden of fighting terrorism," she added.

After weeks of military buildup by Russia in Syrian government-controlled territory, Russian senators on Wednesday voted behind closed doors to unanimously approve intervention in Syria.

Russia later  conducted its first airstrikes in Syria, targeting rebels in the Homs and Hama districts of the country.

Russia only gave the United States an hour's warning ahead of the strikes and did not specify where they would occur, riling many in the Pentagon who had been hoping for clearer and more detailed lines of communication.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter later accused Russia of inflaming Syria's civil war, saying Moscow's military involvement in the war-torn nation was "doomed to fail" and that Moscow's entry into the bloody conflict was akin to "pouring gasoline on the fire."

An Israeli military source told Arutz Sheva that Israel, too, had been notified in advance, via a mechanism reached between Jerusalem and Moscow during Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.