17:44 GMT +319 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Iran might decrease its military presence in Syria and even leave altogether after the situation in the war-torn country normalizes and the fight against terrorism there brings significant results, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said.

    "As soon as we see that Syria is close to certain stability, and the fight against terrorism is close to its end, and significant results have been reached, of course, we might decrease the presence of our advisors in Syria or even withdraw from the country," Qassemi said in an interview with the Iranian Pupils Association News Agency (PANA) as quoted by the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s website on Saturday.

    Tehran would maintain its presence in Syria as long as Damascus wants it to, Qassemi pointed out. The diplomat noted that fighting terrorism was one of the Iranian forces’ tasks in Syria, apart from granting support to the war-torn country’s government.

    READ MORE: Israeli MP Concerned Iran's Troops May Remain in Golans Alongside Syrian Army

    In July, Iranian Supreme Leader's Top Adviser for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said Tehran would be present in Syria and Iraq at the request of these countries' legitimate governments and would not leave despite the threats voiced by the United States.

    Israel has also repeatedly expressed security concerns over the Iranian presence next to its borders in Syria. Velayati has noted that the Iranian presence in Syria was coordinated with Moscow and Damascus and did not have to be agreed upon with Israel.

    Iran, alongside Russia and Turkey, is a guarantor state of the Syrian truce. Syrian President Bashar Assad has said that only Iranian officers, not troops, were operating in his country.


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