News / Middle East

Syrian FM Says No Iranian Intervention, Blasts Europe

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem speaks during a news conference in Damascus,  June 22, 2011
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem speaks during a news conference in Damascus, June 22, 2011

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told a news conference Wednesday that Syria is not receiving any help from Iran in its continuing crackdown on dissidents. He also blasted Europe, insisting that Syria plans to "forget Europe is on the map" as the European Union tightened sanctions against Damascus.  

The veteran Syrian foreign minister repeated his government’s claim of an “outside plot” against Damascus. He insisted that European nations are spearheading the effort by ignoring a speech by President Bashar al-Assad this week that Western observers say failed to put forth meaningful reforms.  

Moallem says European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg Monday commented on the speech without having listened to it. That, he argues, proves that there’s a plot to sow chaos and strife in Syria.  

The Syrian foreign minister also slammed European Union sanctions, which were expanded on Wednesday, saying that Damascus has decided to turn its back to Europe. He said Syria has decided to freeze ties with Europe.

Moallem appealed to Turkey to reconsider its recent criticism of Damascus, saying that the neighbors “share a long common border” and have longstanding ties. Ankara has asked Syria's government to stop repression of its people as Turkey deals with a growing tide of Syrian refugees.

Moallem added that Syria has not received military help in its crackdown from Iran or its proxy ally in Lebanon, the Hezbollah.

He acknowledged, however, that Damascus receives political support from Iran and Hezbollah.  

Hilal Khashan, who teaches political science at the American University of Beirut, echoed analysts' views and Western intelligence information that Syria has received military help from Lebanon’s Hezbollah:  

“Last month there was a minibus near Homs that was attacked and there were 10 people on board," said Khashan. "These people who were killed turned out to be Hezbollah fighters who were sent there to help the regime.”  

Fouad Ajami, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in California, sees little doubt that Hezbollah and Iran are helping Syria. He casts Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah as meddling in Syria.

“Hezbollah is in Syria. Hezbollah units are in Syria, and it’s the biggest mistake that Nasrallah will render his people, to get the Shia of Lebanon involved in a fight in Syria between really the Alawi-based regime and the large Sunni majority," said Ajami. "This is a fight for Syria, among Syrians.”

Both analysts say the Syrian regime can hold its own without help from Iran or Hezbollah. They say Syria seems intent, though, in turning its internal crackdown into a regional issue pitting pan-Arab interests against Western economic and political intervention.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid