22:34 GMT30 May 2020
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    The decision of outside forces to arm the opposition has become the worst mistake made in Syria, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an interview.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Zarif claimed that the same parties who armed Daesh have also armed the Syrian opposition.

    "You had a group in Syria that was armed and equipped and financed by outside forces," Zarif stated in an interview with CNN on Friday. "Mistakes were made in the beginning, but the worst mistake of all was to arm a group of terrorists who are not only a threat to Syria, but a threat globally."

    The foreign minister clarified his statement by saying was referring to a "group of countries, which the United States calls allies, plus the United States itself."

    Commenting on the possible deployment of US ground troops to Syria, Zarif said that the move could further inflate the threat of growing terrorism in the region.

    "The presence of foreign troops in an Arab territory, against a wish of the government and the people of those territories, is itself a recipe for these demagogues, these extremists to rally behind, and to gain new support, and to recruit new fighters," Zarif stated in an interview aired on CNN Friday.

    A Pentagon spokesman told Sputnik on Thursday that the US Defense Department continues to explore options to accelerate the defeat of Daesh as directed by President Donald Trump, but no decisions on further US troop deployments to Syria have been made.

    The conflict in Syria between the Syrian Army and other forces loyal to the government of President Bashar Assad, and numerous opposition groups and terrorist organizations has raged for nearly six years.

    Zarif also stressed that the international agreement to eliminate chemical weapons in Syria does not outline steps on dismantling stockpiles of Daesh.

    "[W]e [Iran] were instrumental in getting the international agreement on the removal of chemical weapons from Syria," Zarif underscored. "Unfortunately, that international agreement lacks a very serious element and that is to remove chemical weapons from stockpiles of ISIS [Daesh]."

    Zarif emphasized that Iran has never supported the use of chemical warfare, because the Iranian people have been victims of such weapons.

    In October 2016, the UN Joint Investigative Mechanism on the chemical weapons use in Syria said the Syrian authorities used chemical weapons at least three times in the 2014-2015 period. However, and an earlier report said Daesh was also responsible for several chemical weapons attacks.

    Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied all accusations of chemical weapons use, claiming the reports failed to provide conclusive evidence of culpability and putting the blame on the terrorist groups operating in the country.


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