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Rebels will be defeated, Syrian Foreign Minister says

Mua’alem says there will be international consequences over fall of Al Assad

Ali Akbar Salehi, right, shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Walid Mua’alem
Image Credit: AP
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, right, shakes hands with his Syrian counterpart Walid Mua’alem, prior to their joint press conference, in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, July 29, 2012.
Gulf News

Tehran: Rebels fighting government forces in Syria’s commercial capital Aleppo “will definitely be defeated,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mua’alem said on an unannounced visit to key ally Iran on Sunday.

“We believe that all the anti-Syrian forces have gathered in Aleppo to fight the government...and they will definitely be defeated,” he told a joint news conference in Tehran with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

Salehi warned that, if the Syria conflict worsened and the regime of President Bashar Al Assad fell, the consequences “would engulf the region and eventually the whole world.”

He added that “it’s naive and illusory to think that, if a [power] vacuum opens up in Syria and the government changes, a new government could be easily established.”

He urged Syria’s neighbours to think hard about the situation, otherwise “everyone will lose.”

Syria and Iran accuse several countries in the region, notably Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey, of aiding the rebels in their fight against Al Assad’s forces.

“Syria is the target of a global plot whose agents are the countries in the region,” Mua’alem said.

“The reality is that, for a month now, there has been a propaganda war waged by the United States, Europe and certain Arab countries,” he said.

Mua’alem also denied media reports that the regime of President Bashar Al Assad would use chemical weapons against the opposition.

“We have faced such media smear campaigns by the West and Arab countries in recent days, but unlike Israel and its nuclear arsenal, we are against any weapons of mass destruction and respect and follow international regulations in this regard,” he said.

The Syrian foreign minister, whose visit to Tehran was unscheduled, was to speak with several Iranian officials about the situation in his country, according to the Iranian foreign ministry.

Iran is the staunchest ally of the Syrian regime. It has provided humanitarian aid and diplomatic backing but denies reports that it has also given military support.