Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Iran backs Assad as Syrian forces choke off Aleppo

(Reuters) - Syria's President Bashar al-Assad won a pledge of support on Tuesday from regional ally Iran as his forces tried to choke off rebels in the northern city of Aleppo.

Seeking to restore his authority after suffering the gravest setbacks so far in the 17-month-old uprising, culminating in the defection of his prime minister on Monday, Assad was shown on television meeting a senior Iranian official.

It was the first footage broadcast of the 46-year-old leader for two weeks, and came a day after Syria's new caretaker prime minister was televised chairing a hastily called cabinet session, possibly to rebut reports that other ministers had deserted along with premier Riyad Hijab.

Saeed Jalili, head of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, said Iran would not let its close partnership with the Syrian leadership to be shaken by the uprising or external foes.

"Iran will not allow the axis of resistance, of which it considers Syria to be an essential part, to be broken in any way," Syrian television quoted Jalili as saying. Read More