Clashes must end in Syria: Iran

Syrian Army soldiers patrol a neighborhood in the northwestern city of Aleppo, November 11, 2012.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has demanded an end to the clashes in Syria, saying the prolongation of the violence will inflict further losses on the people in the Arab country.

“We believe that clashes must end because an increase in conflicts and violence endangers people’s lives and inflicts further losses on the Syrians or the nationals of other countries in Syria,” Mehmanparast said on Monday.

The Iranian official reiterated that the rights of the Syrian people must be respected and the Syrians must be allowed to determine their destiny through fair elections.

“All countries are duty-bound to prepare the grounds so that the Syrian people could express their views in fair elections.”

Mehmanparast rejected any foreign military intervention in Syria and said the grounds must be prepared for “national dialog.”

He stressed that the Syrian unrest must be settled through a political solution and no country should be allowed to make decisions for the Syrians.

Referring to the release of Iranian pilgrims who had been kidnapped in Syria, Mehmanparast said Iran secured the release of its national with the help of Syria and regional countries.

“Abducting innocent people to exert political pressure on the [Syrian] establishment is an inhumane means; and with the help of other countries we should prevent such acts.”

On August 4, 2012, forty-eight Iranian pilgrims, who were traveling on a bus from Damascus International Airport to the shrine of Hazrat Zainab (AS) on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, were abducted by foreign-sponsored Syrian militants.

The abductees were set free in a swap deal between the Syrian government and the militants last week.

An undisclosed number of Turkish nationals arrested by Syrian security forces in recent months were among those released by Damascus in the swap deal.

“We might be able to assess the release of the abducted Iranian pilgrims in exchange for the freeing of a number of other individuals as a positive step in line with [Syrian President] Bashar Assad’s proposed solution [to end the crisis in the Arab country].”

In an address on January 6, the Syrian president proposed a new strategic roadmap and the holding of dialogue with the opposition and political parties to resolve the unrest in Syria.

Assad called for an end to terrorist operations inside Syria and urged “concerned states and parties” to stop funding, arming and harboring militants.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.

The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.