Iran will continue to back the Syrian government, which acts as a pillar of an Iran-led regional alliance, a high-level Iranian diplomat has told President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.
Saeed Jalili, a senior aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in the meeting with Assad on Tuesday that what was happening in Syria was "not an internal issue".
It is "a conflict between the axis of resistance on one hand, and the regional and global enemies of this axis on the other", Jalili said.
The remarks came amid continued clashes between Syrian government troops and rebels in the country's commercial capital, Aleppo. Assad, for his part, pledged to to crush the 17-month rebellion against him and to cleanse the country of "terrorists".
"The Syrian people and their government are determined to purge the country of terrorists and to fight the terrorists without respite," he was quoted by state news agency SANA as telling Jalili.
Iran, which has voiced growing criticism of support by the US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the rebels, also sent Ali Akbar Salehi, its foreign minister, to Ankara and a letter to Washington holding them responsible for the fate of 48 kidnapped Iranians.