Syria: Iran Allows Russia to Use Airspace as Part of Efforts to Help Assad

Sergey Lavrov, Mohammad Javad Zarif
The Associated Press

Iran is allowing Russian warplanes to use its airspace, courtesy of an old agreement, a move that will allow both countries to continue providing much-needed support to dictator Bashar-al Assad in Syria.

“Iran’s cooperation with Russia is completely strategic and the passing of Russian jets is based on an earlier agreement,” the secretary general of Iran’s national security council has told Fars News, according to Rudaw.

“Iran’s national security chief also says that Tehran will also allow Russian jets to fly through its airspace in support of Syrian ground forces,” adds the Kurdish news outlet.

In February 2016, the Kremlin conceded that Russia has vowed to increase military cooperation with Shiite powerhouse Iran, which also supports Assad.

“I am convinced that our meeting is going to contribute towards reinforcing friendly relations between Russian and Iranian armed forces,” declared Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. “Our countries face the same challenges and threats in the Middle East region and it is only together that we will be able to fight them.”

Besides the Iranian military, Russia now counts with the support of Iran’s proxy Hezbollah and other Shiite jihadists.

Russia and Iran are working together to protect Syria at any cost.

Throughout most of the ongoing civil war in Syria, Turkey has been backing rebels/opposition forces fighting to overthrow Assad. Meanwhile, Russia has been lending military assistance to Assad.

However, last month Russia, Iran, and Turkey met to discuss ending the Syria war.

Furthermore, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov noted that the three countries have agreed to prioritize the fight against terrorism over the removal of Assad, who considers all opposition forces to be “terrorists.”

“Russia, Iran, and Turkey have agreed to try to broker peace talks between Syrian rebels and the Assad regime and to expand the fragile ceasefire in Aleppo to other parts of the country, Moscow said,” reported the Telegraph. “The three regional powers most deeply involved in Syria’s war met for an unprecedented summit in Moscow and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said they had reached significant agreements” in late December 2016.

“Iran, Russia and Turkey are ready to assist in preparing the agreement in the making between the Syrian government and the opposition and to become its guarantor,” Mr. Lavrov said.