Iran and Syria have signed a new military cooperation agreement aimed at boosting existing ties between the two allies.
Part of the deal signed yesterday by the Chief of Staff of Iran's Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Bagheri, and Syrian Defence Minister, Ali Abdullah Ayyoub, will improve Syria's air defence systems, reports Al-Mayadeen.
"We will strengthen Syria's air defence systems within the framework of strengthening military cooperation between the two countries," said Bagheri after signing the "comprehensive" agreement. The deal will "further enhance our will… to confront pressures by America," he added.
It comes in "continuation of fighting the Takfiri terrorism which is being supported by certain regional and international powers is one of the objectives of this agreement," the two sides said in a joint statement.
Both sides also demanded the withdrawal of all foreign forces which have entered Syria "illegally", taking particular aim at the US and Turkish military presence in the country. The Iranian commander also criticised Turkey over a lack of commitment in fulfilling obligations under the Astana agreement in terms of the withdrawal of armed groups operating in areas under its control.
He said that Turkey must realise that the solution to any of its security problems is through negotiation with Damascus and not through military deployment.
Israel, which has carried out hundreds of air strikes on Syria, throughout the duration of the nine-year conflict was also mentioned by the Syrian defence minister. "Israel is a strong partner in the war against Syria," said Ayyoub, adding that "terrorist groups are part of the Israeli aggression".
According to the Jerusalem Post, Iran could help strengthen Syria's air defence systems by sending its 3rd Khordad system modelled on the Russian S-300, which was successfully used to shoot down a US military drone in June and could pose a threat to Israel.