Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 2
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
An official with Iran's foreign ministry has rejected reports on sending Afghan immigrants to Syria to fight alongside forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
The source speaking on condition of anonymity said that claims about sending Afghans right into the middle of the Syrian crisis by some Iranian organizations are not true and follow promotional goals, Iran's ISNA news agency reported Feb. 2.
The official further said there is information that the Afghanis are fighting on both sides, however it is impossible to define whether they are fighting along with the IS (ISIL, ISIS or Daesh) or not.
The source further said that according to undisclosed evidence, some Afghan nationals involved in the confrontations, have been residing in Syria, while others arrived there from Afghanistan, in some cases, through Iran.
Human Rights Watch accuses Iran's Revolutionary Guards that has recruited thousands of Afghans, some by coercion, to fight in Syria.
"Iran has not just offered Afghan refugees and migrants incentives to fight in Syria, but several said they were threatened with deportation back to Afghanistan unless they did," Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at the New York-based HRW said Jan. 29.
Tehran has always expressed support for the Syrian government since it sees the Assad regime as its main strategic ally in the region and as a part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel.
Western countries accuse Iran of running military operations in Syria, but Tehran denies these accusations. Iranian officials have repeatedly stressed that they only provide military consultations to Syrian forces.