Iran role in Syria key item at Trump-Putin summit

Flags of the Syrian regime were raised in Deraa as its troops took control of the city

Flags of the Syrian regime were raised in Deraa as its troops took control of the city

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, hailed his country's "strategic relationship" with Russian Federation ahead of a meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Velayati had traveled to Moscow on Wednesday to convey a message from Ayatollah Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's written letter to President Vladimir Putin.

Iran's role in Syria will be a key topic at an upcoming summit between Putin and his USA counterpart Donald Trump in Finland's capital Helsinki on Monday. Israel captured the western part of Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and repelled Syrian forces that tried to take it back in 1973, when Bashar Assad's late father, Hafez Assad, led the country.

Iran and Russia's presence in Syria will continue to protect the country against terrorist groups and US aggression, the Iranian senior official said.

"The relationship between Iran and the Russian Federation is a strategic relationship and in recent years the collective bilaterial and regional relations have expanded", Iran's ISNA news agency quoted Velayati as saying on arrival in Moscow.

We hope that cooperation between Iran and Russian Federation will be considered a model for cooperation between Iran, China, India and some other important East Asian countries, he maintained.

China says 'fully prepared' if trade war kicks off this week
Xi's government has expressed confidence China can hold out against USA pressure, but companies and investors are uneasy. The widely-read Global Times tabloid said in an editorial that China must prepare for containment by the United States.

Velayati also said that United States sanctions against Iran could raise oil prices and harm oil consumers.

"We'll see what happens when the two of them get together", Bolotn stated. "We will help Syria counter the USA aggression".

Iran, following the USA withdrawal from the nuclear deal, is facing stiff sanctions and can not afford to lose Russia's support, nor will it be able to provide Assad with the same level of support in the long run. Israel seized Syria's Golan Heights without worldwide recognition in a 1967 war and retained it after a second conflict ended in a 1974 truce, which left the countries at an indefinite standoff that has witnessed a resurgence in violence in recent months.

The IDF will "continue to operate against attempts to violate the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, threats to Israeli sovereignty or any attempt to harm Israeli civilians", added the IDF.

The military targeted Syrian military positions on Thursday in response.

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