Iran rejects reports on dispatching troops to Syria
Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct. 3
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran rejected media reports on sending hundreds of troops to Syria to support president Bashar al-Assad's government.
A senior Iranian official speaking on the condition of anonymity rejected the reports, calling it "mere lies," the official IRNA news agency reported.
Reuters reported Oct. 2 that the Iranian troops have arrived in Syria to join a major ground offensive in support of government.
Two Lebanese sources told Reuters hundreds of Iranian troops had reached Syria in the past 10 days with weapons to mount a major ground offensive. They would also be backed by Assad's Lebanese Hezbollah allies and by Shiite militia fighters from Iraq, while Russia would provide air support.
Iranian officials have in various occasions announced that Tehran only has advisors in Syria, to transfer its military experience to the Syrian army.
Tehran has expressed support for Russia's airstrikes in Syria which launched on Sept. 30.
Moscow says it hit Islamic State(IS) group positions , but the areas it struck near the cities of Hama and Homs on Oct. 1 reportedly are mostly held by a rival insurgent alliance, which unlike Islamic State is supported by U.S. allies including Arab states and Turkey.
Tehran and Moscow share the same stance towards Syria, supporting the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
The Islamic Republic views the Syrian regime as its main strategic ally in the region and as part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel.