Pentagon claims Iran-Syria defense deal won’t stop its efforts to fight ISIS

July 11, 2020 - 16:55

TEHRAN — The U.S. military has claimed that it will continue to fight Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group despite the new Iran-Syria defense deal which aims to counter increasing challenges and threats, including the threat of the terrorist groups which were initially supported by the U.S. and its allies at the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011 in order to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

“The mission of U.S. Forces in Syria today remains the same as it was when they first began operations in 2014: to enable the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Newsweek on Friday quoted Pentagon spokesperson Navy Commander Jessica L. McNulty as saying.

“U.S. service members will continue to execute the Defeat ISIS mission in Syria, working in conjunction with vetted local forces in northeast Syria and around At Tanf Garrison,” she added.

Her comments come after Major General Mohammad Bagheri, the chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, touted the new deal this week that would strengthen Syria's air defense systems. The deal is expected to boost bilateral ties between two countries united in their fight against ISIS and in their opposition to unwelcome U.S. intervention in the region.

“The peoples and countries of the region do not welcome the American presence, and our strong responses to American hostilities continue,” Bagheri said during a Wednesday meeting with Syrian Defense Minister Ali Ayoub in Damascus, according to Lebanese and Syrian media.

The following day, Bagheri met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who also endorsed stronger ties between Damascus and Tehran.

According to the IRIB, the agreement is aimed at boosting military and technical cooperation and coordination to counter increasing challenges and threats.

“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. 

“The military agreement was signed in line with implementing the two countries’ political and military leaders’ guidelines in order to play more effective role in countering any foreign aggression through promotion of Tehran and Damascus’ defense capabilities,” the statement added.

Iran and Syria have signed different military and defense cooperation over the past years.

The Islamic Republic commenced providing Syria with advisory military assistance after numerous countries, at the head of them the U.S. and its Western and regional allies, began funding and arming militants and terrorists with the aim of deposing the Syrian president’s government.

Although the Syrian government initially lost considerable expanses of territory to ISIS and other terror outfits, the country rallied to retake the lost grounds and drive out terrorists from much of the country.