By Ben Cohen | www.algemeiner.com |
A top Russian envoy arrived in Tehran on Wednesday to brief Iranian leaders following this week’s summit in Helsinki between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump.
Iranian state media outlets reported that Alexander Lavrentiev — a senior member of the Russian negotiating team at Monday’s summit in Helsinki who serves as Putin’s special presidential envoy to Syria — would be discussing the implications of the summit for Iran’s military presence in Syria.
Both the Iranian regime and Russia have been closely allied in stabilizing the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad over the past five years. Several human rights groups have charged both countries with participating in war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria. Last April, the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, told the UN Security Council that there were up to 80,000 troops and allied Shia militia fighters in Syria under Iranian command.
Lavrentiev, Putin’s envoy, has been working closely with the Assad regime, Iran and Turkey to deliver a “political solution” to the brutal civil war in Syria, in which 500,000 people have died and nearly 14 million — more than half the country’s population — have been driven from their homes. The Russian-backed Astana peace process recognizes Iran and Turkey alongside Russia as the collective “guarantors” of an eventual political settlement in Syria.
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