Iran will continue sending “military advisers” to Syria in order to boost the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, a top Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander told Iran’s Fars news agency on Tuesday.
Though Iran has been sending military support to Assad since at least 2012, it didn’t publicly acknowledge doing so until the number of Iranian casualties rose, Reuters reported. Over 1,000 Iranian troops have already been killed in Syria, including a number of IRGC commanders.
“The advisory help isn’t only in the field of planning but also on techniques and tactics,” said Mohammad Pakpour, head of the IRGC’s ground forces. “And because of this the forces have to be present on the battlefield.”
Papkour explained that the IRGC’s troops are in Syria to support the Qods Force, the IRGC’s branch for external operations.
Iran has created what former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter called in November a “foreign legion” of Shiite fighters from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. These fighters are directed by the IRGC and the Iran-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
Iran’s support for Assad is essential to its goal of securing “at least one, but more likely two, land corridors across the Levant (one in the north and one in the south), linking Iran to the Mediterranean,” as Ehud Yaari of the Washington Institute wrote Monday in Foreign Affairs. The ultimate goal of these corridors, Yaari assessed, “is to expand Iran’s reach into the Golan Heights, with the goal of tightening the noose around Israel.”
[Photo: Tasnim News ]