Syria’s FM, visiting Tehran, says Israel is leading ‘the plot to bring down Assad’

Syrian rebel leaders call for international military assistance

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem (AP/Dimitri Messinis)
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem (AP/Dimitri Messinis)

Syria’s foreign minister on Sunday blamed Israel for the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

“The Zionist regime is at the forefront of the plot to bring down the Syrian government and to destabilize the country,” said Walid Muallem, speaking at a joint press conference in Tehran on Sunday afternoon with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi.

Israel’s stance on Syria is proof of an international plot against Assad’s regime, Salehi added.

Apart from Israel, Muallem accused Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar of conspiring against Syrians. He and Salehi confirmed that their governments take a similar stance on the ongoing military conflict in Syria.

Muallem added that his country can defend itself from the “terrorists” attacking it, and that the latest round of foreign pressure in Aleppo will be deflected.

According to Salehi, evidence of an anti-Syria plot can be seen in “the stance Israel has adopted.” Iran’s foreign minister said he was surprised that certain regional countries are walking the same path as the Israelis, and said those countries should rethink their stance and actions.

The thought that a foreign government could step into the vacuum created by a theoretical collapse of Bashar Assad’s regime was described by Salehi as a “delusion.”

Salehi noted that the Syrian regime needed more time to implement Assad’s planned reforms. He also said the citizens of Syria were entitled to civil rights, such as free elections and a constitution.

Earlier on Sunday, as the battle between Assad’s forces and opposition forces raged in Aleppo, a Syrian opposition leader called on the international community to arm the rebels.

Syrian National Council President Abdul Basit Sida told reporters in Abu Dhabi that the world needs to supply the Syrian opposition with weaponry, especially anti-tank and anti-aircraft rockets.

Assad forces have pounded Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, with tanks, planes, helicopters, and artillery in the week-long battle with rebel forces. At least 160 people were killed in Syria on Saturday, 33 of whom died in Aleppo, the Local Coordination Committees in Syria reported.

According to various human rights groups, to date some 20,000 people have been killed in the violent uprisings against the Assad regime since March 2011.

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