A top aide to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned on Saturday that any foreign attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran. The warning came as NATO deployed missile-defense batteries along Turkey's tense border with Syria.
NATO’s decision to deploy the six missile batteries, called Patriots, in Turkish borderlands has agitated the Syrian government and its chief allies, Iran and Russia. Tehran and Moscow view the move as a provocation that could escalate hostilities and widen the almost 2-year-old Syrian conflict. About 400 troops from the United States, Germany and the Netherlands are expected to accompany the Patriot batteries.
The comments mark Iran’s strongest public declaration of support for Syria to date. "An attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies," said Khamenei’s aide. Iran has repeatedly referred to Syria's crucial role in the "golden resistance chain" against Israel and the United States. The Iran-led "resistance" front includes Syria, Lebanon-based Hezbollah and the Palestinian group Hamas.