Leaders in the Syrian opposition and the Free Syrian Army [FSA] have condemned Iranian warnings that "arming the Syrian oppositionists will have dire consequences in the region."
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani accused the United States and other countries (which he did not name) of providing military support to opposition fighters seeking to overthrow Iran's ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The official Iranian news agency cited him as saying, "what gives these countries permission to intervene in Syria's internal affairs?" and "the fire that ignited in Syria will also devour the frightened Israelis."
Commenting on the issue, Syrian National Council member Adib al-Shishakli accused the Iranian officials of "lying" and told Asharq Al-Awsat that, “Iran has not stopped supporting Al-Assad’s regime militarily and logistically since the start of the Syrian revolution and also with the experts who are at the Iranian Embassy and in several areas under different names." He emphasized that the "Syrian revolution began peacefully but the Iranian support for the Syrian regime and its partnership with it in killing the Syrians prompted the people to take up arms to defend themselves."
The Iranian defense minister [Ahmad Vahidi] pointed out that his country "does not have armed forces in Syria and the Syrian Government has not made such a request" and said "Syria has a strong army and popular support and the Syrians are capable of dealing with the adventures started by foreigners in their territories."
Commenting on Vahidi's claims that "the enemy wants to establish a new balance of power between the Zionist regime and Islamic countries in the region by removing Syrian from the front resisting (Israel) but this will not happen", Al-Shishakli stressed that "there was no resistance in Syria for more than 40 years and all the claims by the Syrian regime and its allies are pure lies. Syria used to be at the forefront against its enemies but Al-Assad’s regime weakened it." He added that "the real crisis in the region is Iran's presence and support for parties like Hezbollah and its agents in Iraq" and noted "the crisis exists from one side and response to it is necessary." He asserted that "the Syrian people will not back down in their confrontation even if Syria stands today alone against the Persian sectarian tide."
In a related context, FSA commander Lieutenant Colonel Khalid al-Hamud stressed to Asharq Al-Awsat that "any Iranian is now banned from entering Syria. We will cut down their feet under whatever name they enter with, either as fighters or pilgrims."
Al-Hamud went on to say that, “In the Syrian people's view, the Iranians are traitors, from their lowliest to the most senior. The Iranian group we are detaining came to fight with Al-Assad’s regime and this is not the first time that Iranians have been detained in Syria but the first time that the issue has been made public." He added that "the FSA will not remain silent and will continue to defend the Syrian people."