Iran’s Ambassador to Damascus Mohammad-Reza Raouf Sheibani
A senior Iranian diplomat says Tehran supports a recent ceasefire deal in Syria brokered by Russia and the US, but warns against attempts by terror groups to exploit the truce and bolster their foothold in the Arab country.
Iran’s Ambassador to Damascus Mohammad-Reza Raouf Sheibani made the remarks in a commentary carried by IRNA news agency on Sunday.
The deal negotiated by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is set to enter into force on Monday, the first day of the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice).
Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that the Damascus government had approved the agreement, which promises a nationwide truce, improved access to humanitarian aid and joint military operations against terrorist positions.
Iran, as an influential player in efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria, “supports the ceasefire and any such measures that lead to a halt in the bloodshed in Syria,” said Raouf Sheibani, stressing that the Islamic Republic has always been seeking a political solution to the conflict.
The diplomat, however, warned that the military bodies involved in anti-terror operations in Syria as well as the countries that have brokered the truce should be careful that the ceasefire will not change the balance of power in favor of terror groups.
The Iranian diplomat further noted that the ceasefire deal should be “cautiously” accepted, while those responsible for overseeing its implementation must guarantee that opposition and terrorists groups will not exploit the truce.
A handout picture released by Syria’s official SANA news agency on September 5, 2016 shows people and security forces gathering at the site of a blast targeting the Arzuna bridge in a government-held area outside the Syrian city of Tartus. ©AFP
The fresh truce agreement is expected to go into effect at a time that fighting rages on in some parts of Syria, particularly around the city of Aleppo, despite a February cessation of hostilities brokered by the US and Russia.
Since March 2011, Syria has been hit by militancy it blames on some Western states and their regional allies. Moscow and Washington have been supporting the opposite sides to the crisis in Syria.
United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict. The UN has stopped its official casualty count in Syria, citing its inability to verify the figures it receives from various sources.

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