Syrian rebels prepare to fight pro-regime forces in the village of Kurnaz, on January 27, 2013
Syrian rebels prepare to fight pro-regime forces in the village of Kurnaz, on January 27, 2013. © Aamir Qureshi - AFP/File
Syrian rebels prepare to fight pro-regime forces in the village of Kurnaz, on January 27, 2013
AFP
Last updated: January 30, 2013

Backing terrorist groups escalates Syrian crisis, says Iran

A senior Iranian official said Wednesday that those backing "terrorist" groups are responsible for the fighting and killings in Syria, as he repeated Tehran's support of the Syrian regime.

"Iran believes that the cause of the Syrian crisis is the sending of arms to terrorist groups into Syria by some countries," Amir Hussein Abdullahian, the Iranian foreign ministry's undersecretary for Arab and African affairs, told a press conference in Kuwait.

"Those who send arms into Syria are responsible for the killings," said Abdullahian who is heading Tehran's delegation to an international donors conference for Syria being held Wednesday in Kuwait City.

The United Nations says more than 60,000 people have been killed in the 22-month old conflict roiling Syria.

Abdullahian said the Islamic republic fully supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his latest peace proposal and "believes that a political solution through national dialogue is the only way to resolve the Syrian crisis."

he added that Tehran "has always asked the Syrian government not to commit any acts of violence against the people."

Earlier this month, Assad presented a three-step plan to end the conflict, including an offer to hold dialogue with the opposition -- but only with elements he deemed acceptable and not rebel-affiliated groups.

Abdullahian said that Iran has donated $200 million in humanitarian aid to the Syrian people and also logistical assistance to Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

He further said that Iran would provide the "necessary assistance" in the form of a pledge at the Kuwait conference, without providing figures.

Iran has remained steadfast in its support of the Syrian regime which is attempting to crush a revolt that erupted in March 2011.

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