Bashar al-Assad waves to supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace in Damascus.
Bashar al-Assad waves to supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace in Damascus.

Iran has claimed that its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad, has won the Syrian civil war, with western policy backfiring and providing the opportunity for jihadist groups to wreak chaos.

In a series of interviews with the Observer, Iranian foreign policy officials said that Syrian government forces were now in the ascendant, with government troops having last week retaken the rebel stronghold of Homs.

"We have won in Syria," Alaeddin Boroujerdi, chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy committee and an influential government insider told the paper. "The regime will stay. The Americans have lost it."

He said that the main threat faced by the Syrian people now came from al-Qaida-backed Islamist groups, and militants funded by Sunni Muslim states.

Security experts believe that many of the foreign fighters who have taken up arms for the jihadists may soon return home.

"We are worried about the future security of Europe," said Boroujerdi.

One senior government adviser said that the Americans had come unstuck through ignorance.

"We won the game in Syria easily," said Amir Mohebbian, a conservative strategist and government adviser. "The US does not understand Syria. The Americans wanted to replace Assad, but what was the alternative? All they have done is encourage radical groups and made the borders less safe."

"We accept the need for change in Syria – but gradually. Otherwise there is chaos," Mohebbian said.

Iran is the Syrian government's main regional backer, and has reportedly spent billions helping to maintain its precarious grip on power.

Tehran has been largely excluded from international talks designed to bring an end to the conflict, over its refusal to accept western demands that Assad step aside.

However many analysts believe that the least bad option for the region and western interests may be for Assad to remain in power.

Experts believe that Iran is in a region-wide struggle with Arab Gulf states, principally Saudi Arabia, for dominance of the region.