Bashar al-Assad says Iran's presence in Syria not negotiable, but deal over southwestern region is still possible

In an interview with Iran's Al Alam television broadcast, Bashar al-Assad says reaching a settlement in the southwestern region is still possible.

The Associated Press June 15, 2018 08:19:35 IST
Bashar al-Assad says Iran's presence in Syria not negotiable, but deal over southwestern region is still possible

Beirut: Syrian president Bashar al-Assad said Iran's presence in Syria and its relations with Damascus are not negotiable and repeated the assertion that Iran has no fixed bases in Syria.

In an interview with Iran's Al Alam television broadcast on Wednesday night, he said reaching a settlement in the southwestern region, where Iranian-backed forces are near the border with Israel, is still possible.

Israel has repeatedly warned against any permanent Iranian military presence in Syria.

Assad said contacts are "ongoing" between the Russians, the US, and the Israelis, but said the relationship between Syria and Iran "will not be part of any settlement" and is "not in the international bazaar."

There has been speculation that Iran might pull its forces back from near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in some kind of settlement.

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