Publishe Date: 5:06 PM - 9/27/2013 | Print

Syria becoming breeding ground for extremists: Rouhani

Politics - Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has warned that Syria, like Taliban-era Afghanistan, could become a safe haven for extremists and urged 'collective cooperation' to find a political solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

“I am concerned that certain parts of Syria have turned into a breeding ground for extremist ideologies and [a suitable place] for terrorists’ gathering, which is reminiscent of the situation in certain regions neighboring our eastern borders in the 1990s,” Rouhani said in an address to a gathering convened by Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Thursday.

“The settlement of this problem requires collective cooperation to find a lasting political solution to Syria’s domestic issues,” the Iranian president added.

President Rouhani said he is deeply moved by the unfolding “human tragedy” in Syria and the great sufferings that the Syrian people have endured over the past two and a half years.

Elsewhere, Rouhani underlined that Iran as a victim of chemical weapons strongly condemns the use of such arms in the ongoing Syria conflict.

He emphasized that “well-coordinated” regional and international efforts are needed to resolve the crisis in Syria.

Rouhani once again expressed Iran’s readiness to broker “serious” talks among the parties involved in the Syrian conflict to help restore peace and stability to the country.

Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the UN, more than 100,000 people have been killed and a total of 7.8 million of others displaced due to the violence.

A very large number of the militants operating inside Syria are reportedly foreign nationals. According to reports, the Western powers and their regional allies, especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, are supporting the militants operating inside Syria.

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