YES WE CAN! Iran deploys 15,000 troops to support Assad in Syria.
YES WE CAN! Iran deploys 15,000 troops to support Assad in Syria. (Albawaba).
Iran has sent 15,000 fighters to Syria to reverse recent battlefield setbacks for Syrian government troops and wants to achieve results by the end of the month, a Lebanese political source has told The Daily Star.
The militia force, made up of Iranians, Iraqis and Afghanis, the source said, have arrived in the Damascus region and in the coastal province of Latakia.
The source said the fighters are expected to spearhead an effort to seize areas of Idlib province, where the regime has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of a rebel-jihadi coalition.
Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force, was in Latakia this week to shore up preparations for the campaign, the source said. Soleimani promised a “surprise” from Tehran and Damascus.
“The world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are preparing for the coming days,” Iran’s official IRNA state news agency quoted the general as saying Tuesday.
One is to reverse the falling morale of regime supporters in the wake of the battlefield losses and high casualties, while the second is to achieve successes by the end of this month, which coincides with a deadline for Iran and world powers to finalize an interim deal on Tehran’s nuclear program.
A reversal of the fortunes of Damascus, which is heavily dependent on assistance from Iran, would improve Tehran’s leverage as it deals with the post-June phase of negotiating settlements on several turbulent regional fronts, including Syria, the source said.
The regime’s forces have come under increasing pressure in recent months – in Idlib they were defeated in several locations by a seven-member coalition of rebels that included the powerful Ahrar al-Sham militia and the Nusra Front, Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.
Regime forces also withdrew from the central town of Palmyra last month after a short campaign by ISIS jihadis.
Separately, Human Rights Watch said there is “strong evidence” the regime has dropped barrel bombs containing toxic chemicals.
The New York-based group said it had led an investigation into three attacks in Idlib province, which killed two people and affected 127 others, and that chlorine was probably used in some, if not all of them.
A fact-finding team with the global chemical weapons watchdog the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is going to Syria to look into the allegations.
Moscow’s ambassador to the United Nations said his country backed moves to determine who is responsible. “We support the need to find those people who are behind it,” Vitaly Churkin said. But it remains unclear if a UN Security Council resolution, as proposed by the US, is the best way to provide answers, Churkin said. Hmmmm.....Poor Harf will be speechless..... again.And MB 'Buddies' Turkey and Qaar better think twice before going on.