Report on Iran IRGC Quds Force measures in Syria
In the past few months the Iranian regime’s support for Assad – providing weapons, experts and fighters through Syria’s land and air borders – has increased significantly. This includes the presence of Revolutionary Guards commanders, members of the Saberin unit and also the transfer of weapons to Syria.
1. Presence of IRGC forces in Iraq
The IRGC dispatches its commanders and military advisors to Syria according to a specific timetable in order to provide support for Assad. Furthermore, special IRGC forces have been organized with the Syria resistance force, and later on sent to this country. This includes those units already on Syrian soil, such as the IRGC Saberin unit, under the command of Ali Akbar Zakani.
2. Transfer of arms from Iran to Syria
The transfer of Iranian arms to Syria takes place through ground and air transit routes. The emphasis is more through Syria’s aerial borders.
Most of the weapons are sent to Syria through three main Iraqi airports: Najaf Airport, Suleimaniya Airport and Baghdad International Airport (BIA). All weapons consignments are sent through these airports, most of them passing through Suleimaniya and Najaf. BIA sees lesser consignments considering the fact that American officials issue orders of inspections from time to time and US intelligence centers are also based in BIA.
Following the start of the Syrian war there has been an average of 5 to 8 flights from Iran to Syria on a daily basis. The highest number of flights reached 12 to 15 when the Syria intelligence building was attacked and the director killed by Syrian rebels. Currently, the number flights range between 7 to 10 each day conducted by Iranian planes.
The types of weapons transferred each day from Iran to Syria through Iraq include:
1. Anti-tank missiles
2. Various mortar launchers that are very useful in Syria
3. Air-to-surface missiles, most of which are meant for Syrian fighter jets
4. Short range ‘Fajr’ and ‘Razegh’ surface-to-surface missiles
5. RPG rockets
Fa’ed al-Shemeri is the individual cooperating with the Iranians in Najaf Airport and in charge of transferring these weapons to Syria. He coordinates the airlines and Mahan Air is sponsored by him in Najaf Airport. In addition to sending weapons to Syria, Iran supports the Assad regime and prevents his downfall by also testing its own home made weapons in the Syria war, and later on implementing the necessary corrections.
In the daily air flights from Iran to Najaf the arms and ammo are sent under cover and in complete secrecy. They are then transferred from this airport directly to Damascus. Colonel Angushi, a member of the Badr organization and responsible for protecting the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, is one of the individuals in Najaf Airport that is involved in these weapons transfers.