(Photo Credit: SANA)
Syria’s Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas met with Iran’s Chief of Staff General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri in Tehran on 23 January to discuss expanding bilateral cooperation and press for joint-military drills.
During the meeting, Baqeri praised Damascus for its integral position in the resistance movement and for supporting the sovereignty of the Palestinian territories.
Both high-ranking officials condemned Israel’s reoccurring acts of aggression against Palestinians and continuous attacks in Syria from the Golan Heights, which is a direct violation of international law according to the UN.
Baqeri added that Tehran is fully willing to support Damascus in its fight against terrorism and other external threats. In 2020, Iran and Syria signed a comprehensive agreement to enhance their cooperation in the military and defense sectors.
Since the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, Iran has provided Syria with military support against western-backed militant groups. After initially losing considerable territory to al-Qaeda affiliated groups, including the Nusra Front and ISIS, Russia and Iran have fought alongside the Syria Arab Army (SAA) to recover much of this territory.
Earlier this month, a report released by Newsweek citing an anonymous US official disclosed that Iran had stepped up deployment of its air defense systems to Syria over the past two years.
As part of the increased supply of defense technology to Damascus, the report states that these deliveries include the latest generation of the locally produced Iranian Bavar-373 system and are aimed at helping Syria defend against illegal Israeli airstrikes in its territory.
As far back as 2013, Israel has been launching attacks against alleged Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria. It has recently intensified attacks on Syria’s major airports to halt Tehran’s increasing use of aerial supply lines to deliver arms to its allies in Syria, Lebanon, and the occupied Palestinian territories, regional diplomatic and intelligence sources say.
In 2018, Syrian troops accidentally downed a Russian aircraft, mistakenly thinking it was an Israeli jet that had earlier infiltrated the country’s airspace to carry out strikes.
Moscow held Israel responsible for the incident, which left over a dozen Russian servicemen dead, prompting Russia to respond by delivering its renowned S-300 missile defense system to Syria.