DUBAI - Iran would consider any attack on Syria an attack on itself, a senior government official was quoted as saying on Saturday.

"Syria has a very basic and key role in the region for promoting firm policies of resistance ... For this reason an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran and Iran's allies," said Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, according to the Mehr news agency.

Iran is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad and sees Damascus as part of an axis of opposition to Israeli and Western influence in the Middle East. Tehran has warned against Assad's overthrow as he battles a near two-year-long uprising against his rule.

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