Syria 'has every right to defend itself', says Iran

Syria 'has every right to defend itself', says Iran
As tensions between Iran and Israel escalate, Tehran voiced its support for Syrian self-defence against Israeli aggression, slamming the international community's silence on Thursday's sweeping airstrikes.
2 min read
11 May, 2018
Senior Iranian military officers pictured in Aleppo, Syria [Getty]
Iran voiced its support for Syria's right to defend itself against Israeli aggression, state TV reported on Friday, criticising other powers for the lack of outrage over Thursday's attacks on Tehran's regional ally.

"Iran strongly condemns ...[Israels] attacks on Syria. The international community's silence encourages Israel's aggression. Syria has every right to defend itself," the broadcaster quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qasemi as saying.

Tel Aviv launched repeated rounds of rocket fire into Syria early on Thursday morning, destroying vast amounts Iranian milititary infrastructure in Syria, and reportedly killing 23 Syrian and Iranian troops.

The large-scale attack - the biggest Israeli strike on Syria in four decades - came as a retaliation to what Israel suspected was Iranian forces in Syria firing dozens of missiles at its military positions in the Golan Heights. 

The violent exchange marks perhaps the most dramatic escalation between the two adversaries ever.

The clashes came two days after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that aimed to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.

Syria's foreign ministry said that the salvo of Israeli strikes on its territory marked a "new phase" of direct involvement in the country's seven-year conflict. 

In a statement carried by its state news agency SANA, it said Israel's "direct confrontation... signals the start of a new phase of the war on Syria".

Israel's "aggressive behaviour… will not lead to anything but an increase in tension in the region", the ministry said.

It was "a serious threat to international peace and security", the ministry added.

France, Germany, the UK and the US have all voiced similar condemnation of Iranian "provocation" and support for Israel's right to defend itself.