The secretary of Iran's Supreme
National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, arrived in Syria for talks with
President Bashar al-Assad and other officials, Iranian state television IRIB
The senior Iranian official told President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday that Syria was a vital partner in Tehran's regional anti-Israeli alliance, which Iran would not allow to be broken.
"Iran will not any allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way," it quoted Jalili as telling Assad.
On the Iranian pilgrims abducted recently in Syria, Iran said
those captured when their bus was commandeered were pilgrims visiting a Shiite
shrine on the outskirts of Damascus. On Tuesday, Iran's Foreign Ministry
said it holds the US. responsible for the fate of the abducted Iranians.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is to visit Turkey on Tuesday for previously
unscheduled talks expected to focus on Syria and a group of Iranians seized by
rebels there, an Iranian diplomat in Ankara said.
Iran's state IRNA news agency said the ministry
summoned the Swiss envoy in Tehran late Monday to stress that Iran expects
Washington to use its influence to secure the Iranians' release. The Swiss look
after U.S. interests in Iran since Tehran and Washington have no diplomatic
claimed three of the Iranian captives were killed on Monday during shelling by
government forces in Damascus and its suburbs, and threatened to kill the remaining
Iranians unless the army stopped its bombardment.
However the spokesperson's claim that three of
the captives were killed could not be independently verified. An official at
the Iranian Embassy in Damascus said he had no information on the subject.
Fighting in Aleppo spread to new areas Tuesday
as rebels try to expand their hold inside Syria's largest city despite two
weeks of withering counterattacks by President Bashar Assad's troops, activists
Heavily armed government troops have been
steadily shelling rebel-controlled parts of the city, particularly Salaheddine
and other districts on the southwestern edge of Aleppo, for more than two weeks
as the two sides fight for control over the strategic city.
In brazen, daylight attack, rebels this week
abducted a group of 48 Iranians near Damascus, branding them as spies assisting
in Assad's crackdown against the rebels.
While skirmishes were reported in the Syrian
capital overnight and its suburbs Tuesday, the main battle has now moved to
Aleppo, some 350 kilometers north of Damascus where rebels seized several
neighborhoods two weeks ago and have proved difficult to dislodge.
Meanwhile, a Turkish official said that more
than 1,300 Syrians fled to Turkey overnight to escape spreading violence.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in
line with government rules.
arrivals would increase the number of Syrians who have found refuge in Turkey
close to 48,000. Turkey is also a staging ground for rebels fighting Bashar
Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says fighting has extended to
new parts of Aleppo, which is close to the border with Turkey.
For the full LBCI report, watch the video above.