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Iran’s president vows to continue supporting Syria

December 8, 2020 GMT

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday his country will continue to support Syria, urging Damascus to confront Israel in the occupied Golan Heights.

Rouhani’s website said the remarks came during a meeting with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will continue its support to the Syrian government and people as our strategic ally and we will stand by Syria until its final victory.”

Rouhani said confronting “Zionist occupiers and terrorism” is the joint goal of both nations.

“Until the liberation of all occupied lands including the Golan, confronting Zionist occupiers,” should continue, said Rouhani.

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It was Mekad’s first visit to Iran as foreign minister after he assumed his post in November. He arrived in Tehran on Monday.

Iran has been a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad since the beginning of Syria’s civil war in 2011, lending his government in Damascus vital military and economic support.

Iran does not recognize Israel and supports anti-Israel militant groups like the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Israel accuses Iran of building up its military presence along its northern frontier with Syria and has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Hezbollah.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war.