Iran's Nour News has rejected a report by London-based Asharq Al-Awsat that Russia asked Iran to remove its forces and militias from western and central Syria due to an increase in air strikes by Israel.
"According to the information received by Nour News, the report published in Asharq al-Awsat was false and Russia has not made such a request from Iran. The Zionists' attacks were also exaggerated," Nour News, which is affiliated with Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said on Saturday.
"Falsification of such news aims to boost the morale of the remnants of Takfiri terrorism in Syria and also to portray the Zionist regime as an influential [player] in the political and security equations of the region," it added.
The report in Asharq Al-Awsat cited a source reportedly close to the Syrian government and claimed that Russia "demanded that the Iranians evacuate" from their positions near the site of Regiment 49, an important military site in western Hama hosting long-range S-200 missiles and other Russian-made arms.
A meeting is alleged to have taken place at the Hama Military Airport between three Russian officers and their Iranian counterparts on Wednesday.
However, an article published yesterday by the Jerusalem Post also cast doubt on the claim by the Saudi-owned newspaper.
"This means that a source, or sources, could be spreading an inaccurate story or misinformation. Would someone want the world to know that Russia is trying to get Iran to leave certain areas?" opined Senior Middle East Correspondent Seth J. Franztman.
"Overall the point of the report is that it tells us that either there is daylight between Iran and Russia or someone wants us to believe there is."