Israeli security officials have confirmed that Iran has withdrawn most of its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces from Syria, The Times of Israel reported Friday.
The withdrawal is apparently a reaction to the heavy losses the militia has sustained in recent weeks. A senior IRGC commander and 14 lower-ranking personnel were buried on just one day earlier this month. It is estimated that several dozen IRGC personnel have been killed in Syria since September. Security sources estimate that of the 2,000 IRGC troops sent to Syria, only around 700-800 remain.
Iran has concentrated its military efforts in recent weeks in northwestern Syria against a group of rebel forces called the “Fateh Army.”
The IRGC’s withdrawal leaves Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based terror proxy, in a more vulnerable position. Hezbollah’s troops are reportedly concerned because Russian air strikes have not proved decisive in helping them and other forces backing Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. More than one-third of Hezbollah’s fighting force is believed to have been killed or injured in Syria, with as many as 1,500 dead and 5,000 more wounded.
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