Last Updated: Mon Jan 16, 2012 17:04 pm (KSA) 14:04 pm (GMT)

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says it is committed to defense treaty with Syria

Iran considers Syria a close ally, and says it will take action if outside forces move against the Assad regime. (Reuters)
Iran considers Syria a close ally, and says it will take action if outside forces move against the Assad regime. (Reuters)

Following reports alleging its involvement in the violent repression of Syrian protestors, Iran’s government said it has not yet interfered in the situation in Syria, but stressed its commitment to the joint defense treaty to which Iran and Syria are signatory.

Iran has viewed what is happening in Syria as a domestic affair, but it will definitely interfere in case a foreign attack in launched on Syria, a source from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) told Al Arabiya on condition of anonymity.

The source added that, according to preliminary estimates, the situation in Syria is “good” till now.

“Our brethren in Syria see the same thing and expect the crisis to be resolved within two months or so,” the source said.

The source pointed out that Syria is different from other countries that witnessed protests in the sense that it is surrounded by supporters from all sides.

“We and our brethren in Iraq and Lebanon are protecting Syria,” the source explained in a clear reference to Nouri al-Malikil’s government and Hezbollah, both allies of Iran.

Despite reports stating that so far the situation in Syria is “stable,” the IRGC, the source pointed out, is still worried of a division or a coup in the Syrian army.

According to American officials who believe the IRGC is taking part in the fight against Syrian opposition, Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of IRGC al-Quds Force, which specializes in operations outside Iran was in Damascus this month.

This visit, they argued, is the best proof that Iran’s support for the Syrian regime includes the provision of arms and military equipment.

They added that they are sure Suleimani met with the most senior officials in the Syrian regime, including president Bashar al-Assad.

The joint defense treaty between Syria and Iran was signed in June 2006 by a former Syrian defense minister, Hassan Turkmani, and his Iranian counterpart, Mustafa Mohamed Najjar, in Tehran.

In addition to joint defense, the treaty also stipulates that both countries are to work together to maintain peace and stability in the region.

Suspicions of Iranian military aid to Syria also surfaced when an official at the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that customs officers in his country confiscated four Iranian trucks suspected of transferring weapons to Syria. The trucks were stopped after the Turkish authorities received a report that they were transporting weapons.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

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