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Syria, Iran say US aid to rebels will extend war

Last Updated: Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 09:31

Damascus: Syria and Iran said on Saturday that Washington`s decision to provide aid to rebels will only prolong the fighting aimed at toppling President Bashar Assad whose troops scored a major strategic victory in the country`s heavily contested north.

Syrian troops regained control of several villages along a key highway near the embattled northern city of Aleppo, restoring stability to the city`s international airport, the Army`s General Command said in a statement.

The achievement has the potential to change the outcome of the battle in Syria`s largest city where government troops have been locked in a stalemate for months.

In Tehran, Syrian and Iranian foreign ministers accused the US of having a double standard on its policy regarding Syria. They said the US decision to provide rebels with aid will only delay an end to the nearly 2-year-old conflict that has killed at 70,000 people, according to the United Nations.

The remarks by Syria`s Walid al-Moallem and his Iranian counterpart, Ali Akbar Salehi, were the first official statements from the two nations following US Secretary of State John Kerry`s announcement this week that the US will provide, for the first time, non-lethal aid directly to Syria`s rebels, in addition to USD 60 million in assistance to Syria`s political opposition.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Tehran, the Syrian and Iranian diplomats emphasised that whether Assad stays or goes will be decided in presidential elections scheduled for next year.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, March 3, 2013 - 08:47

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