Syria And Iran Agree Long-Term Strategic Cooperation

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SYRIA and Iran have signed an agreement for a long-term strategic cooperation between the two countries in Tehran. The agreement was signed on Sunday by Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil and Iranian Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami with attendance of ambassadors of the two countries.

Khalil said that the relations between the two countries are excellent at many levels and ‘we are looking forwards for upgrading cooperation in the economic field.’

He clarified that in parallel with victory in the war we are now making a great economic cooperation between Syria and Iran.

The Minister said that the agreement constitutes a comprehensive cooperation at the financial and banking levels, adding that the agreement contributes to facilitating trade exchange and overcoming obstacles that hinder upgrading the cooperation. For his part, Eslami stressed that the historical relations between the two countries are witnessing their pinnacle, clarifying that all the exerted efforts and measures between the two countries’ peoples and governments will lead to achieving a sustainable peace and security in the region.

He pointed out that today’s plan is an introduction for a broad action between the two countries in the future. In a similar context, Minister Khalil also met with Chairman of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Gholamhossein Shafei. Khalil said that the Ministry started to identify the problems and obstacles that hinder boosting the relations between the two countries, expressing desire by the two sides to upgrade relations, particularly economy.

He called for opening mutual accounts and banks between the two countries, referring to the importance of cooperation between Syrian and Iranian central banks. For his part, Shafei said that exchanging visits between senior officials in Iran and Syria indicates the strategic relations between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the illegitimate coalition led by the USA acknowledged killing 1,140 civilians in raids launched on Syria and Iraq since 2014. The coalition attempted as usual to reduce the number of victims, saying in a statement published by TASS news agency that 1,139 civilians were killed ‘inadvertently’ in the raids.

Since its formation outside the umbrella of UNSC in 2014, the international coalition committed dozens of massacres by bombing residential areas in Aleppo, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Hasaka, in addition to destroying infrastructure under the pretext of combating Daesh while data shows the close link between the coalition and the Takfiri organisation in targeting the Syrian Arab Army and residential areas in the eastern region.

A Syrian servicemen was killed in a shelling by militants operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone, chief of the Russian Centre for reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria Sergei Solomatin said on Sunday. ‘One Syrian soldier was killed in the settlement of Kermel in the Latakia governorate which came under shelling by militants operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone,’ he said.

According to Solomatin, work is continued to amnesty people dodging military service. Thus, as of today, as many as 21,701 people have been amnestied, he added. During the day, officers of the Russian reconciliation centre conducted a humanitarian operation and delivered a total of 2.2 tonnes of food products to the settlement of Mazlum in the Deir ez-Zor governorate.

Solomatin also said that refugees continue to return to Syria. The Russian reconciliation centre is helping to ensure operation of ten checkpoints. ‘As of December 29, 2018, as many as 213,362 people have returned to Syria,’ he reported.

Apart from that, he said that the Russian reconciliation centre continues efforts to restore infrastructure facilities and create conditions for the return of refugees. ‘As of December 29, 2018, as many as 30,943 residential houses, 718 educational and 124 medical facilities have been restored, and a total of 955 kilometres of motorways have been repaired,’ he noted.

The Russian reconciliation centre continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The centre’s officers regularly travel around the country’s liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes.

Meanwhile, President Bashar al-Assad received on Saturday a message from Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi conveyed by Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayad. The message concentrated on the developments of relations between the two countries and the necessity of continuing coordination between them on all levels, particularly in regards to combating terrorism and the cooperation in this regards, especially along borders between the two states.

During the meeting, President al-Assad underlined that good relations with Iraq and the standing cooperation in the fight against terrorism have formed a powerful factor for both countries in their war against terrorism. President al-Assad affirmed the importance of continuing this cooperation and coordination until eliminating the remaining  of terrorist cells in some Syrian and Iraqi regions.

Viewpoints were also exchanged about the latest developments  on the regional and international arenas. President al-Assad stressed that the positive events witnessed in the region, particularly on the level of restoring security and stability in the majority of Syrian and Iraqi cities affirm that the will of people in the region in keeping sovereignty of their regions was more powerful than the external plots.

Al-Fayad, for his part, said that the success of the Iraqi people in confronting terrorism and the victories achieved by Syria and its capability of restoring security and defeating terrorism in the majority of its territories, the latest of which was the entry of the Syrian army to Manbij, are all good indications for the whole region.

Talks during the meeting dealt with bilateral relations between the two brotherly states and means of developing them in all domains in the interest of the Syrian and Iraqi people. The Council of Elders and Dignitaries of Syrian Clans and Tribes has welcomed the entry of Syrian Arab Army units into Manbij in the northern countryside of Aleppo. In a statement issued last Friday, the Council said that the army’s entry into Manbij ‘tramples over the dreams of Erdogan and his terrorist pawns, the pawns of America and the West.’

The Council said the Syrian Arab Army’s achievement is a resounding response to all those who dream of dividing Syria, calling on the leaders of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces to hand over areas under their control to the Syrian Arab Army. The Council said that national interest should be the top priority for all Syrians, hoping that the next victory will be announced in Hasaka province.

The people of Deir Ezzor city on Friday organised a public gathering to celebrate the entry of the Syrian Arab Army into Manbij. The participants raised Syrian flags and chanted in support of the Syrian Arab Army and to express happiness over its entry into Manbij and raising the Syrian flag there.

They also denounced the Turkish threats of carrying out an aggression against Syria, rejecting Turkey’s attempts to interfere in Syrian affairs. Earlier on Friday, the General Command of the Army and Armed Forces announced the entry of units of Syrian Arab Army to Manbij city and the hoisting of the Syrian Arab flag.

Scores of women participated in a rally held in al-Qamishli on Monday morning in support of the Syrian Arab Army and in denunciation of the threats by the Turkish regime against the unity and territorial integrity of Syria.

The rally started from al-Sabi’a Bahrat Square heading for the Arab Cultural Centre Square in the city, and the participants held the national flags and banners which affirm that the Syrian Arab Army is the only guarantor of the Syrians’ unity and that it is the only national force which is able to eliminate terrorism and to confront the foreign aggression.

Participants in the rally affirmed that the Turkish threats come in the framework of supporting the armed terrorist groups by the Turkish regime. They asserted that all schemes of launching new aggressions have been foiled similar to what happened to other schemes thanks to the steadfastness of the Syrian people and their standing by their army and leadership.

Head of Jasmine Lady Forum in Qamishli Rima al-Ta’an said that women in Qamishli are sharing happiness with the other citizens after the great victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army, and that they are standing by the army in defending the homeland. The participants also expressed support to the Syrian Army in the face of terrorism and the occupation’s tools, calling for unifying the ranks in the face of the attempts to undermine Syria and the threats by the Turkish regime against Syria’s unity and territorial integrity.