4 Apr 2018 16:28

Some leaders of terrorist groups were able to leave Syria thanks to int'l coalition - Iranian Defense Minister Hatami

MOSCOW. April 4 (Interfax) - The U.S.-led international coalition removed some terrorist leaders from Syria, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said on Wednesday.

There is information that they may be used in other countries of the region, he said.

"They [the U.S.-led international coalition] rescued and took some of the leaders and some very powerful terrorists out of the region; they are holding them in their hands. There are also indications that they want to use them in other places of the region. It seems to me that the threat of terrorism exists in Central Asia, in the Caucasus, because there are indications and evidence that some terrorists are being moved to Afghanistan," Hatami said in an interview with Rossiya-24 (VGTRK) television.

The Iranian minister said Russia and Iran, unlike the countries of the international coalition, fought terrorists "respecting the sovereignty of this country, and also in coordination with the government of Syria."

"The other group led by the United States managed these terrorists instead of fighting terrorism. That is, in other words, they supported terrorism where terrorists act in their interests; they rescued and removed and, on the contrary, if they were against their interests somewhere, they delivered strikes and attacked terrorists," the Iranian defense minister said.

ISIL militants have been defeated in Syria, having lost their territories and influence, Hatami said.