UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — President Bashar al-Assad said on Friday that the Syrian people “will not forget” the Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani, who was killed by an American strike in Baghdad, alongside his country’s army in the nearly nine-year-old conflict, while opponents denounced the “pivotal” role he played in Syria.
The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and the deputy head of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Committee, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and others, was killed at dawn Friday in a US missile attack on their car near Baghdad International Airport, raising fears of an open conflict between Washington and Tehran.
Al-Assad wrote in a message of condolence addressed to the guide of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and its content was conveyed to the official Syrian news agency “SANA”, “The mention of the martyr Soleimani will remain immortal in the consciences of the Syrian people who will not forget to stand by the Syrian Arab Army in its defense of Syria against terrorism And his supporters, and his fingerprints in many victories against terrorist organizations.”
Tehran is one of the most prominent allies of Damascus. Since the conflict began, it has provided significant political, economic and military support to Damascus. With Shiite groups loyal to it, it was able to adjust the balance of forces on the ground in favor of the Syrian government forces on several fronts.
Soleimani was his country’s envoy to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon to coordinate with armed groups loyal to Iran in these countries.
In a similar message of condolences addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Assad said, “The blood of the martyrs will increase the axis of the resistance with strength, solidarity and determination,” describing the assassination of Soleimani as “an American aggression that left and cowardly.”
Al-Assad’s positions came after a source in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed, according to SANA, that “the treacherous aggression that amounts to the methods of criminal gangs confirms once again the responsibility of the United States of America for the instability in fraternal Iraq in the context of its policies aimed at creating tensions and fueling conflicts in Countries of the region. ”
Following the outbreak of the conflict in 2011, Tehran took the initiative to open a $ 5.5 billion credit line to date, before it sent military advisers and fighters to support the Syrian army in its battles against opposition factions.
In the summer of 2018, the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement stipulating Tehran’s support for rebuilding the Syrian army and defense industries.
“A painful blow”
On the other hand, Syrian opposition figures and groups in exile considered that the killing of Soleimani constituted the end of one of the “war criminals” due to his role in the conflict.
And the head of the Syrian negotiating committee, Nasr Al-Hariri, considered in a tweet that the killing of Soleimani was “the first director of the crimes of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard against the Syrian and Iraqi people and the people of the region, a painful blow that confirms that the world is capable of putting an end to Iran and protecting civilians from the Syrian people if it wanted to.”
The National Coalition of the Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces said in a statement that the killing of Soleimani, who “played a pivotal role in what” Syria “reached, represents the end of one of the most prominent war criminals responsible for the crime file in Syria and the region in general.”
In the city of Idlib, in northwestern Syria, protesters chanted during their participation in the sit-in in condemning the escalation of the bombing campaign by Damascus and its allies in the area, to celebrate the killing of Soleimani. One of them carried a paper reading “Thank you Trump”.
“This good news gives us a strong push forward. The revolution is continuing and victorious, God willing,” protester Mohamed Chakib Al-Khaled told France Press.
In the Al-Dana market in Idlib, one of the young men distributed sweets with joy to the passers-by.
The opposition holds Tehran its support for Damascus and its fight with Shiite groups loyal to it against the opposition factions, which favored the balance in the field in favor of Damascus.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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