Iran has been bolstering the beleaguered regime of its ally, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, by recruiting Pakistani Shiites to fight against anti-Assad insurgents, Reuters reported Friday.
Two men from the Zeinabiyoun, a unit of Pakistani Shiite fighters, were killed fighting in Syria last month. A Twitter account associated with the group has posted pictures of 53 men who died fighting in Syria.
“The Zeinabiyoun are a Pakistani Shi’ite outfit that’s run by the IRGC,” Iran’s elite paramilitary organization, Phillip Smyth, an adjunct fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who is an expert in Shiite militias fighting in Syria, told Reuters. “There are pockets within that Shi’ite community that have been willing to pick up arms to fight for their Shi’ite identity, their sectarian identity. And that’s what the IRGC is tapping into,” added Alex Vatanka, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.
In addition to Pakistani Shiites, Iran has been recruiting fighters from Iraqi Shiite militias, the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah, and Hazara Shiites in Afghanistan—many of whom were recruited by force.
[Photo: قناة النجباء الفضائية / YouTube ]