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Iran’s Defense Minister Arrives in Syria While US, Israel, Russia Debate its Exit

Against the background of the U.S., Russia and Israel discussing among themselves ways of preventing Iran from remaining in Syria after the civil war wraps up, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami arrived in Damascus for talks with Syrian officials to secure “a productive role in the reconstruction of Syria.” Iranian officials have been unambiguous in their insistence that they have no intention of leaving, claiming their presence in the war-torn nation is at the request of President Bashar Al-Assad and which outranks those nations seeking withdrawal by the Iranians. The Islamic Republic’s elite Revolutionary Guard has been fighting alongside Assad’s forces since 2012, one-year into the conflict that is now wrapping up after seven years of carnage and destruction. The death toll by anyone’s count exceeds 350,000 and millions have left their homes: six million inside Syria and five million in refugee camps in countries adjoining Syria.

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