At a time when Israel and US are holding a massive military exercise in the Mediterranean Sea, Syrian Defense Minister made a visit to Tehran to highlight and even expand bilateral ties on military and security issues.
This Tuesday morning and along with a military delegation, Syrian Defense Minister Ali Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Tehran to meet with Iran’s President and a number of high-ranking military officials of the Islamic Republic.
Hosting Mahmoud Abbas in his presidential residence in Tehran, Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi asserted that Iran is ready to stand by Syria in the reconstruction period just as it did during the resistance period against the ISIS.
“Iran is a true friend of the Syrian nation, because just as it stood by the Syrian nation and government during the resistance against terrorism, it is ready to stand by them during the reconstruction period by strengthening all-round economic cooperation,” Raisi said.
Raisi also described and clarified the relations between the two countries as strategic, adding, “The relations between Iran and Syria are based on common beliefs, as well as the spirit of standing and resistance of the people of the two countries”.
Ali Mahmoud Abbas was appointed as Syria’s Defense e Minster back in April 2022 and replaced General Ali Abdullah Ayoub, a former army chief-of-staff who was appointed by Assad in 2018.
Why is this trip important and what message does it contain?
Mahmoud Abbas’ visit to Iran, as the highest military official in Syria, happened while Israel, Iran and Syria’s main enemy, is holding a military drill with the United States. The trip also took placed amid rumors that Tehran-Damascus relations may be at odds for some reasons.
In an indirect address to Israel’s military exercise that is expected to last till this Friday, Mahmoud Abbas praised the Islamic Republic for backing his country during the crisis and for standing against Israel, promising that Syria “will continue to fight against the Zionist regime and stand with the nations seeking independence, particularly Palestine”.
The trip also put an end to the recent speculations about a possible normalization between Syria and Turkey on the one hand and between Syria and some Arab states on the other hand, which might affect Syria’s relations with Iran.
But Tuesday visit to Iran by Mahmoud Abbas, as well as the recent trip that the Iranian foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, had to Damascus showed that the two countries are not only experiencing cordial relations with each other, but are also willing to extent ties to even higher and more strategic levels.
To discard rumors altogether, the Syrian Defense Minister asserted during his meeting with Iran’s president that “enemies have always been looking for an opportunity to damage the deep, brotherly relations between Syria and Iran, but the relations between the two countries are too deep-rooted and strong for anyone to damage them, and these relations are becoming wider and deeper better than before”.
The Syrian defense minister also met with the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), General Hossein Salami, as well as Iran’s Chief of Staff for the Armed Forces, General Mohammad Bagheri and discussed further cooperation on military and security issues.