Spokesman: Iran to stay in Syria as long as needed

Iran Rejects Russian Demand To Withdraw Troops From Syria

Iran to remain in Syria as long as Damascus needs: spokesman

On Sunday, a war monitor said fighters had begun withdrawing from the area towards Islamic State territory in eastern Syria under a surrender deal, but state media said fighting continued.

Army soldiers fired into the air in celebration and held Syrian flags, against a smashed cityscape of shattered buildings and widespread destruction, state television footage showed.

"Damascus and its surroundings are completely secure", Mayhoub said.

No doubt the two leaders, both long branded global pariahs by the West, had a lot to discuss after the uptick of external military action in Syria, but likely looming larger was the Iran and Israel question, and Israel's continued threats of attack should its "Iranian red line" go unenforced.

Iran is another important Assad ally. The spring saw thousands of rebel fighters surrender and board crammed buses out of eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, following weeks of bombardment.

The official says the cease-fire ends at noon on Monday, after which government forces will resume their operations in the Hajar al-Aswad and the nearby Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk. The Observatory said IS fighters have been setting their offices and vehicles on fire so that government forces would not be able to seize equipment or documents belonging to the group.

"No one will extract us from Syria".

Iran and Russian Federation have joined forces in Syria, providing crucial military support to Assad's forces and giving them the upper hand in the civil war.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters Monday that no one can force Tehran to do anything it doesn't desire to do.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid an unannounced visit to Vladimir Putin on Thursday evening at the Russian president's summer home in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi where the two leaders discussed the process for winding down the war in Syria, and notably the reduction of foreign troop presence in the country.

"Our presence in Syria has been based on a request by the Syrian government and Iran will continue its support as long as the Syrian government wants", he said, speaking shortly before Pompeo made his remarks.

"Those who entered Syria without the permission of the Syrian government are the ones that must leave the country", the spokesman said.

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