“Syria is a member of the United Nations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, adding that the Arab country “has equal rights” over its self-determination with Russia, the US and any other member of the UN.
“This is a sovereign country led by a legitimate government. It can agree on cooperation with any other country, including Iran, Russia, Israel,” he noted in an interview
with the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS released Thursday night.
“That’s Syria’s sovereign right, and it’s not the business of a third party to intervene in these subjects of politics or policy of a sovereign country,” said Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East.
He went on to say that Moscow had already explained to Israel and the US that “this is a sovereign decision for Syria who should be on their territory.”
“They asked us and the Iranians to be there. The Iranians have said repeatedly on many levels that Syria asked them to help them in the fight against terrorists, and when Mr. Assad tells them that their mission is accomplished and they are no longer needed, they will leave Syria, just like us.”
Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terror outfits.
However, over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.
In the latest Israeli airstrikes on Syria a few weeks ago, a Russian Il-20 plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in Latakia Province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian S-200 missile defense system was responding to a wave of strikes by four Israeli warplanes.
Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, which killed all 15 people on board, saying the Israeli warplanes had deliberately “created a dangerous situation” that led to the crash.
Shortly after the attack, Russia delivered a modern version of its S-300 missile defense system to Syria in a bid to prevent similar incidents in the future.