PHOTO: President Assad and Iran’s Supreme Leader (File Photo)


Syria’s President Assad has responded quickly to news of Iran’s nuclear agreement with the 5+1 Powers, sending cables of congratulations to the Supreme Leader and President Rouhani.

Assad described the deal as Iran’s “great victory” in a “historic achievement”:

Indubitably, this agreement crowns the steadfastness of the Iranian people, with all their components and inclinations, in the face of the unfair sanctions that were imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Notwithstanding the cruelty of those sanctions, the Iranian people have created a chance out of them to boost their own capabilities and take their researches, universities and achievements to high levels that earned them the recognition of the entire world.

Assad said the agreement would be a “major turning point” in history, with the “unequivocal recognition by the world countries of the peacefulness of the Iranian nuclear program”.

Iran has been an essential backer of Assad in Syria’s four-year conflict, providing military commanders and billions of dollars in economic assistance. With the signature of the agreement, some observers predict that the Islamic Republic — amid the prospect of sanctions removal — will be able to step up aid.

Since November, Syria has been asking for up to $6 billion in another line of credit from Iran, following the exhaustion of a $3.6 billion line agreed in July 2013. Facing economic difficulties, Tehran has been willing to provide only $1 billion.

UN Envoy Meets Southern Front Rebels for 1st Time

The UN envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, met leaders of the Southern Front rebel coalition for the first time on Tuesday.

“We showed him our road map, our vision, how the Southern Front sees the transitional period without Assad,” spokesman Issam al-Rayyes said.

Rayyes said it was not the first time the U.N. envoy had asked to meet the Southern Front, but previous meetings had not taken place for logistical reasons.

Obama: “Encouraged That Mr. Putin Called Me About Syria”

Interviewed on Tuesday about the nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama said, “We would have not achieved this agreement had it not been for Russia’s willingness to stick with us…in insisting on a strong deal”. He continued:

I was encouraged by the fact that Mr. Putin called me a couple of weeks ago and initiated the call to talk about Syria. I think they get a sense that the Assad regime is losing a grip over greater and greater swaths of territory inside of Syria and that the prospects for a takeover or rout of the Syrian regime is not imminent but becomes a greater and greater threat by the day. That offers us an opportunity to have a serious conversation with them.

Opposition Coalition Meets Kurdish National Council To “Emphasize Unity”

The Political Committee of the externally-based opposition Syrian National Coalition met a delegation from the Kurdish National Council on Tuesday “to emphasize the importance of working jointly towards overthrowing the Assad regime and achieving the Syrian people’s demands for freedom and dignity”.

The Coalition said that both sides praised international efforts to find a political settlement that gets rid of the “repressive” Assad regime, and that they “stressed the integrity of the Syrian territories and unity of its people” and renounced all forms of violence and extremism.

The Coalition said there was discussion of “the need to introduce the Kurdish issue at the elite and popular levels”, with agreement to hold further meetings and consultations.

2 Islamic State “Sleepers” Blow Themselves Up in Rebel Headquarters in Idlib Province

Two members of an Islamic State sleeper cell have blown themselves up in an Ahrar al-Sham headquarters in Idlib Province.

Among the rebel casualties is an Ahrar commander, Abu Abdul Rahman.

Ahrar al-Sham, one of Syria’s leading rebel factions, has been cracking on the Islamic State’s sleepers throughout the province.