Sep 27, 2021 07:39 UTC
  • Syria not afraid of Israel, says FM Mekdad, welcoming closer Iran-Arab ties

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has welcomed any move to foster closer relations between Iran and Arab countries, and reiterated that Damascus is not afraid of the Israeli regime and its backers.

In an interview with pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Mayadeen on Sunday, Syria’s top diplomat said his government supports efforts aimed at integration among regional countries.

He said the Islamic Republic of Iran has always supported the Arabs and sided with the people of Syria and Palestine, and welcomed any move toward rapprochement between Tehran and the Arab world.

“We must respond well to the good behavior of the Iranian side,” Mekdad said.

He also said the government in Damascus is “not afraid of Israel or its sponsors”, as he reaffirmed support for Lebanon, which has seen Syria serve as a conduit for shipments of Iranian fuel to the crisis-stricken neighboring country.

Earlier this week, the second Lebanon-bound shipment of Iranian fuel arrived in Syria's northwestern port city of Baniyas under an initiative by the Hezbollah resistance movement to ease the Arab country’s crippling energy crisis.

The fuel is being imported to sanctions-battered Lebanon via Syria in an effort to avoid entangling Lebanon in the US sanctions on Iran.

The humanitarian move by Iran has ruffled feathers in Tel Aviv. Hezbollah Chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah last month dared the Israeli regime to stop the shipment.

“The vessel, from the moment it sails until it enters (Mediterranean) waters, will be considered Lebanese territory,” he said during a televised speech last month. “To the Americans and Israelis, I say: it’s Lebanese territory.”