Iran's Revolutionary Guards. File photo
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Qamishli, Syria – Subsequent to the recent gains by the opposition forces in various parts of Syria, the regime officially acknowledged the deployment of 7,000 Iranian and Iraqi fighters around Damascus in order to protect the capital.
“The goal is to deploy 10,000 Iranian and Iraqi fighters to support the Assad army and its allied militias,” a source close to the Assad regime said in a statement to AFP.
According to the same source, who conditioned anonymity, these fighters will also work on regaining the strategic city of Jisr ash-Shughur in Idlib province, as it forms the first defense line in the coastal region for the Assad army.
In the meantime, the Iranian state agency “IRNA” quoted the commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying that the Iranians prepare a “surprise” along with the Assad regime in battles against enemies.
For years, the regime in Damascus has taken a decision not to acknowledge dependence on Iranian logistical and military support.
However, the regime’s losses in Idlib, Jisr ash-Shughur, and Ariha, in Syria’s north, led Assad regime to reconsider the degree of military cooperation with Iran, according to reports by the Lebanese As-Safir newspaper.
Over the past few days, more than 20,000 Shiite fighters from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon fluxed into an area near Idlib, on Jorin front (only six km from Jisr ash-Shughur), As-Safir reported.
Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, accompanied by units involved in Iraq as part of the joint forces, arrived in Syria to prepare for the counter-attack against opposition fighters in Idlib.
A coordination mistake between pro-Assad forces and militias in Idlib led to the loss of the strategic province to rebel fighters.
Last week, Syrian army, supported by Hezbollah militia, foreign Shiite volunteers and Iranian forces launched a major offensive in southern Syria aimed at clearing rebel forces from the border areas near Jordan and the Israeli-held Golan Heights.
Rebel forces, acting with unprecedented harmony, took advantage of the Syrian concentration to launch simultaneous attacks elsewhere in the country, including the suburbs of Damascus. Thrown off balance, Assad and his Iranian advisers were forced to suspend intensive operations in the south and confront the new challenges in the north.
Repowering by: Egid Yousef
Source: ARA News