Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Iran’s military presence in Syria

October 2015
We have been witnessing reports of more Iranian military personnel, linked to the Quds Force, being killed in Syria in unprecedented numbers. On October 15th Agence France Presse reported of thousands of Iranian troops arriving at a military airport in the coastal province of Latakia in Syria. Ala’din Borujerdi, chair of Iran’s parliament national security and foreign policy commission said, “If Syria requests for (troops), we will take this request into consideration and make a decision.” Furthermore, on October 14th al-Arabiya TV reported thousands of Iranian soldiers entering Syria in order to support Syrian regime troops attack opposition forces, and these operations will enjoy air support provided by Russian bombers.

Iran is in a difficult dilemma in Syria, and the Assad regime was facing an imminent overthrow when Tehran dispatched Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani to Moscow and asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for help. Of course, in return for Russian intervention Iran has promised large sums of money to Russia after the nuclear deal is implemented and its assets are unfrozen. Russia, in a serious economic crisis itself, used this opportunity to enter Syria.
In its own calculations Iran counted on horrific air raids by Russia on opposition-controlled areas in Syria to pave the path for Revolutionary Guards and Assad forces to gain ground. Therefore, Tehran began dispatching thousands of its IRGC troops to Syria to prepare for attacks on opposition-held areas.
Russia launched its massive air raids on Syrian opposition positions on September 30th and Iran imagined one week after these horrendous bombings it would be able to attack opposition positions in Aleppo and take over this strategic city in the north. In this regard at least 4,000 IRGC personnel were sent and 7,500 Iraqi militias were campaigned and dispatched to Syria for this operation. Iran also began its recon missions in southern Aleppo, carried out by senior Quds Force commanders when on October 9th its highest Quds Force commander, General Hossein Hamedani, was attacked by Syrian opposition forces while on a recon mission. He was killed alongside other IRGC members. From that day forward to this day we have been receiving daily reports from Iranian media of more IRGC members being killed in this front, showing how ridiculous were Iran’s initial calculations of taking advantage of the horrific Russian bombings and easily take over the city of Aleppo. IRGC and Assad troops have made no advances at all so far. Here is a look at those killed in Syria:
- On October 27th according to reports, Moslem Khizab, Mehdi Alidoust, Abdullah Bagheri, Mostafa Sadrzadeh, Milad Mostafavi, Mohammad Zoheiri, Sajjad Tahernia, Ruhollah Emadi, Amin Karimi, Mohammad Ali Hosseini, Ahmad Estekami, Nader Hamid Deylami, Majid Sane’i Muwaffagh, Mojtaba Karami and Reza Damroudi were amongst those killed in a ten-day period alone in Syria. A number of IRGC commanders including Puya Izadi, Hamidreza Daie Taghi and Jabbar Iraqi were killed on September 26th in clashes in Damascus, “defending Zeinabiya sanctuary”, as Iran claims.
- On October 25th three IRGC members were killed in Syria. Sajjad Tahernia, dispatched to Syria from northern Iran, Seyed Ruhollah Emadi, a resident of Sawadkuh in Iran, and Mohammad Zahiri, a lieutenant junior grade from Khuzistan Province were killed in Aleppo.
- On October 25th two Iranian officers were killed in clashes against Syria opposition forces in Aleppo. Furthermore, eight Lebanese Hezbollah elements were killed in clashes around Aleppo and Idlib.
- On October 25th Amin Karimi, “a defender of the Islamic sanctuary”, was killed in Aleppo. Amin Karimi was a member of the IRGC forces who volunteered to be dispatched to Syria. He was killed on Thursday, September 30th in Aleppo.
- On October 25th the corpse of IRGC member Mohammad Ali Hosseini was buried on Sunday with many people and officials taking part in the ceremony.
- On October 24th Mostafa Sadrzadeh, aka Seyed Ibrahim, and Seyed Milad Mostafavai, two members of the “Fatemioun” militia group, were killed near the city of Aleppo. Sadrzadeh was the commander of a battalion in this unit.
- On October 23rd Abdullah Bagheri Niaraki, a former bodyguard of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was killed on Thursday night in a military operation in Aleppo.
- On October 20th Syrian activists reported Nader Hamidi, an IRGC commander in Syria, was killed in battles of Quneitariya Province.
- On October 13th an IRGC commander by the name of Farshad Hassouni-zadeh, along with IRGC officer Hamid Mokhtarband were killed in Syria. (These two IRGC commanders were from Khuzestan Province)
On Monday, October 26th deputy IRGC chief Hossein Salami described the reason behind increasing casualties for Iranian forces in Syria as a “quality and quantity” escalation for Iranian military personnel in this country. While Iranian officials continuously deny dispatching forces to Syria, and Iranian forces in this country are described as “advisors”, in a period of just ten days there were news reports each day of Iranian military forces dying in the Syria civil war.
These fatalities include Quds Force commanders in Syria, and the names of all dead IRGC members are obviously not published by the Iranian regime. What is significant in this regard is that the crimes carried out by Russia and Iran in Syria cannot have the final word. In fact, it is the popular resistance that is the decisive factor.

On the other hands, we should remind US President Barack Obama that the result of the nuclear pact with Iran and unfreezing this regime’s money has resulted in developments very easily witnessed, with Iran and Russia increasing their meddling in Syria.

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