Syria’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun, in a speech at the Irish parliament, praised Iran and Russia for their support for the Arab country’s government and said unlike others, the two countries are defending Syria against terrorists.
“Iran and Russia came to Syria to defend the country while 180 other countries came to Syria to destroy it,” Badreddin Hassoun said in an address to Irish lawmakers, the Arabic-language Al Mayadeen TV reported on Thursday.
He further called on European governments to ignore media outlets that are trying to tarnish the image of the Syrian government, saying that if they want peace and intend to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, they should go to Syria and then make a judgment about it.
The cleric went on to say that Syria has paid a heavy cost to counter 300,000 terrorists who have gone to the war-hit country from Europe and around the world.
Syria has been gripped by civil war since March 2011 with various terrorist groups, including Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), currently controlling parts of it.
According to a report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injured 1.9 million others, and displaced nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.
In the meantime, Iran and Russia have remained close allies of Syria and support its legitimate government in the face of foreign-backed militancy.
Tehran insists that the Syrian nation is the only side that has the right to shape the future of its own country, rejecting foreign intervention with the use of force.