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Khamenei says Iran's duty to defend Syria's Assad

Iran is the main regional ally of the Syrian regime. [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 March, 2018

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Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday praised Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad for his "resistance" in the country's devastating seven-year war.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Thursday praised Syrian regime head Bashar al-Assad for his "resistance" in the country's devastating seven-year war.

"Syria is on the front lines today; it is our duty to defend the Syrian resistance," Khamenei said, quoted on his official website.

"Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, appeared as a great example of resistance and a fighting image; he never hesitated and stood strong: this is extremely important for a nation," he added.

Addressing Assad, he said "if you and we, and other elements of resistance stay determined, the enemy cannot accomplish a single thing".

The resistance, according to Iran, is made up of Iran, Syria, the Lebanese militant group Hizballah, Iraqi militias and Palestinian Islamist groups.

Iran is the main regional ally of the Syrian regime, which is also supported by Russia.

Khamenei also hailed Iran's survival as it enters the 40th year since the Islamic revolution.

"From day one, all major world powers united and acted against us: the United States, USSR, NATO, Arab and regional reactionaries - they all united. But we survived and prospered."

Khamenei's statement comes a day after the EU urged Iran, Russia and Turkey to do what they can to get the Syrian regime to halt its offensive in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta to let aid enter and civilians evacuate.

On Saturday the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire across Syria without delay, but it has yet to take effect.

Russia and Syria set up a humanitarian corridor for the entry of aid and for civilians to leave Eastern Ghouta for five hours each day, but violence has continued with the regime and rebels blaming each other.

The civilian death toll in Eastern Ghouta since Syria and its ally Russia intensified their bombardment of the rebel enclave on February 18 topped 600 on Wednesday.

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