U.S. defense chief says Iran developing 'militia' within Syria
|Publisher||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty|
|Publication Date||14 August 2012|
|Cite as||Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, U.S. defense chief says Iran developing 'militia' within Syria, 14 August 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/503b348a36.html [accessed 16 March 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
August 14, 2012
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says Iran is working to form a pro-regime militia inside Syria, warning that Tehran's growing presence could only aggravate the situation on the ground.
"There's now an indication that they're trying to develop, trying to train a militia within Syria to be able to fight on behalf of the regime," Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.
"The Syrian people ought to determine their future, not Iran," he added.
The United States, Western allies, and the Syrian rebels accuse Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hizballah, of providing military assistance to the embattled government of President Bashar al-Assad.
Tehran, which is Damascus's last remaining regional ally, has denied this.