Rouhani: US and Israel won't reach their goals in Syria

Iranian President says America and Israel will not reach their goals by arming militants in Syria.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Hassan Rouhani
Hassan Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Friday that “America and Israel have learned they will not reach their goals by arming militants in Syria."

Rouhani was speaking at a meeting in Tehran with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss the situation in Syria's Idlib, the last major stronghold of rebels opposing Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Iranian President said that America needs to end its military presence in Syria, according to the Reuters news agency.

"The illegal presence and interference of America in Syria which has led to the continuation of insecurity in that country, must end quickly," Rouhani said.

Rouhani also said the battle in Syria will continue until militants are pushed out of the whole country, especially in Idlib, but that any military operations should avoid harming civilians.

Syrian government forces are planning a phased offensive in Idlib and surrounding areas held by insurgents fighting Assad, who has been backed by both Russian and Iranian forces in the country’s civil war.

On Tuesday, the White House warned that "millions of innocent civilians are under threat of an imminent Assad regime attack, backed by Russia and Iran."

"President Donald J. Trump has warned that such an attack would be a reckless escalation of an already tragic conflict and would risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Let us be clear, it remains our firm stance that if President Bashar al-Assad chooses to again use chemical weapons, the United States and its Allies will respond swiftly and appropriately," the White House statement said.

Trump himself warned Assad on Wednesday that "the world is watching" as government forces prepare to assault Idlib.

"They will hopefully be very, very judicious and careful. Because the world is watching. That cannot be a slaughter. If it's a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get angry, too. I am watching that very closely," he stressed.

Rouhani’s comments follow a report in Foreign Policy magazine on Thursday which claimed that Israel has been secretly backing 12 different rebel groups fighting the Assad regime in southern Syria, providing both weapons and money in an effort to combat both the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group and Iranian-backed forces in the area.

Israel refused to comment on the claims.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)