Iran Rejects Russian Call To Withdraw From Syria

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Iran officially rejected a Russian call to withdraw Iranian troops and Hezbollah fighters from Syria during a press conference on Monday.

"As long as it is needed, [the] terrorism threat is not eliminated. and the Syrian government's help request continues, Iran will remain in Syria," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters.

"Nobody can force Iran to do something against its will," he continued. "Iran is an independent country that pursues its policies according to its own interests."

The Russian Special Envoy to Syria, Alexander Lavrentiev, called on Friday for the withdrawal of all non-Russian foreign troops in Syria, including American, Turkish, Iranian, and Hezbollah forces, elaborating on a remark made by Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier that day. Iran and Hezbollah have had a growing presence in Syria since 2013, when they entered the country's civil war in order to bolster Syrian President Bashar al-
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