Beirut, April 10: Iran and Russia on Sunday renewed and extended their full support to the Syrian government via phone calls. Notably, the support by Russia and Iran renewed just after US missile strike which only violated Syrian sovereignty but failed to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria.
In a phone call with Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the strike on Friday a "blatant violation" of Syrian sovereignty, Syrian state media reported. Assad accused the U.S. of trying to boost the morale of "terror groups" in Syria. The government refers to all those fighting against it as terrorists.
Rouhani further said that the U.S. strike would not affect Iran's Syria policy, while Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran would not withdraw in the face of similar aggressions. Importantly, Iran has provided crucial military and economic assistance to Assad throughout Syria's six-year civil war. It has organized several Shiite militias from around the Middle East to fight in support of Assad's government and has sent troops and officers from its own Revolutionary Guards.
On the other side, the Kremlin said in a statement Rouhani also spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone. "Both sides noted the inadmissibility of aggressive U.S. actions against a sovereign state in violation of international law," the statement said. "Vladimir Putin and Hasan Rouhani spoke in favour of an objective, unbiased investigation of all the circumstances of the chemical weapons incident on April 4 in the Syrian province of Idlib."
Meanwhile, the US said the strike was in response to a nerve gas attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last week, which has been widely blamed on government forces. However, the Syrian government has denied using chemical weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson denied that the strikes signaled an overhaul of American policy, saying its priority remained to defeat Islamic State militants in the Middle East. Notably, the strike was the first time American forces targeted a Syrian government installation in the course of the war. U.S. Treasury officials say they are preparing sanctions in response to the chemical weapons attack, though the Syrian government is already buried under U.S. and E.U. sanctions.
Notably, Russia and Iran support to Syria comes after the United States launched dozens of cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in response to the chemical attack that killed 86 people in rebel-held town in Idlib. In US airstrikes, six innocent people were killed.