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Iran says only way to end Syria war is to support government

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A International Red Cross volunteer stands near the rubble of a destroyed building in Douma in the Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta on March 5, 2018 on the outskirts of Damascus.<br />An international convoy entered Syria’s rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta to deliver much-needed aid today as the regime pounded the region with fresh bombardment, killing dozens as it seized more ground.<br />/ AFP PHOTO / HAMZA AL-AJWEH

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that the only way to end the conflict in Syria was to support its government.

“There is no other way to resolve the Syrian crisis other than reinforcing the central government in Damascus,” said Rouhani following a meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, according to the presidency’s website.

Iran has been a key ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, providing military advisers and organising “volunteer” fighters.

Rouhani said France and Iran share the same priorities in Syria of ridding the country of “terrorism”, and helping the Syrian people.

But France has strongly opposed the current bombardment by Syrian forces of the enclave of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus.

In a phone call on Sunday, President Emmanuel Macron urged Rouhani to put the “necessary pressure” on its Syrian ally to halt “indiscriminate” attacks in the rebel enclave.

Le Drian told reporters that Iranian officials had spoken of their “heavy concerns on the humanitarian situation in Syria and their desire to see an end to this catastrophe”.


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