Russia, Iran vow continued military support for Assad

[caption id="attachment_13289" align="aligncenter" width="678"] Iran and Russia are Assad's closest allies [EPA][/caption]The army chiefs of Russia and Iran have vowed to continue the fight against "terrorists" and their supporters in Syria days after the US Navy launched a barrage of cruise missilesagainst a Syrian goverment airbase.

Speaking by phone on Saturday, Major General Mohammad Bagheri of Iran and General Valery Gerasimov of Russia "condemned the American operation against a Syrian airbase which is an aggression against an independent country", Iran's state news agency IRNA reported.

The US strikes "aim at slowing the victories of the Syrian army and its allies, and reinforcing terrorist groups", the two chiefs of staff said in a statement.

They vowed to continue their military cooperation in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "until the total defeat of the terrorists and those that support them", according to the Mehr news agency.

Iran and Russia are Assad's closest allies and label all opponents of his government as "terrorists".

Both governments have defended Assad against Western allegations that his regime carried out a suspected chemical weapons attack on Tuesday on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun in Idlib province, killing at least 86 civilians.

The Syrian opposition and its backers have dismissed claims by the Syrian government and Moscow that civilians were exposed to the deadly chemicals after a rebel weapons depot was hit in an air raid.

Earlier in the day, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani criticised his US counterpart Donald Trump for the missile attack the US launched launched in retaliation.

"This man who is now in office in America claimed that he wanted to fight terrorism but today all terrorists in Syria are celebrating the US attack," he said.(alj)
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