Few days ago, Syrian President Bashar al Assad met with a parliamentary delegation from Belgium. During the meeting, the attention was caught by the left hand of Assad. During all the meeting, while speaking with the Belgian MPs, Assad kept his left hand always steady, lying it on the armrest of the armchair. Even in the video broadcasted by the TV of the Syrian regime, it is possible to see the eyes of one of the members of the Belgian delegation, while watching the left hand of Assad with special attention. For many observers, this is the proof that Assad suffered a stroke and now the establishment of the regime is keeping him on power, only as a symbolic figure.
Source: al-Quds al-Arabi
In an interview published in Arabic on al-Quds al-Arabi, Italian ex Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, denounced the Iranian regime connections with the Sunni terrorist group al-Qaeda. In particular, Ambassador Terzi denounced that Tehran is using especially Hezbollah to maintain the relations with al-Qaeda, in order to keep a low profile. Terzi explained that the relations between Iran and al-Qaeda started in early 1990 in Sudan, promoted by Hasan al Turabi. Using the Quds Force, the Islamic Republic has become a safe heaven for the terrorists of al-Qaeda, also for Sunni terrorists who arrived in Syria after 2011. About the intelligence relations between Damascus and Rome, Terzi expressed his doubts over the effectiveness of this cooperation, because of Syrian regime support to terrorism.
Source: Tabnak, Arabi21
An article published on Tabnak.ir, the online newspaper close to IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei, expressed worried about the Russian projects in Syria and the effect on Iran. In particular, the article underlined that the Russian goal and the Iranian one, are not the same. Moscow acted in Syria in order to contain Nato, a strategy that Putin is implementing since 2008 in Georgia. But, differently from what happened in Afghanistan, Russia has no intention to deploy many soldiers in Syria for long time. Today, For the Kremlin, Assad is a pawn to fight Isis, but in the next future Moscow wants to share the responsibility in Syria, with other partners, first with Turkey. Putin wants to distance Ankara from US and Nato and, in order to achieve this goal, he is ready to share the power with Erdogan. For this reason, in the next future it is possible that Iran and Russia will clash on Syria, especially when Putin will start to abandon Assad and the Shia militias.
Asaad al-Zouri, head of Syrian opposition delegation in Geneva, denounced that the Iranian regime is ready to send 4000 additional fighters in Aleppo. The new fighters, will be composed not only by Iranian Pasdaran, but also by Afghan militias. Al-Zouri underlined that Iran is sending more and more Afghans, in order to compensate the huge number of losses suffered in Syria. The new fighters will arrive from the South of Damascus, where they are undergoing their training. The former official of Syrian army, added also that Hezbollah is sending a large number of minors in the battle fronts and that, until now, there are more than 80 thousand pro-Iranian fighters in Syria fighting for Bashar al-Assad.
Source: Al Akhbar
In the last days there were speculation about the possible withdrawal of Hezbollah’s fighters from Syria. This is not the first time that this news was published in the media. In any case, the news was denied by the Party of God which, in a statement, described the information as “rumors” and accused the Arabic media to promote a ” psychological war”. The Hezbollah’s denial, could be a sign of division between Moscow – which has started a partial withdrawal of its troops from Syria – and Iran. In particular, it seems that Putin did not inform the Iranian partner about the withdrawal and that Tehran does not support the idea to transform Syria in a federal state.
Source: Yemen Press ; Fars News
For the first time, during a press conference, Hassan Rouhani revealed disagreements between Tehran and Moscow over the destiny of Syria. The Iranian President said that his country does not agree with Russia on any move related to Syria. In particular, Iran disagrees with Putin’s plan to divide Syria, creating a kind of Federation in Swiss-style (with canton arrangement). Rouhani said that Iran continues to support a united Syria, with the capability of Damascus to maintain the sovereignty over its entire territory.
Probably the future of Syria and the Iran-Russia dispute over the “Federal Plan”, will be the center of the today’s meeting in Tehran between Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs of Iran.
Source: Fars News, Sepah News
Everyday a new piece of the Iranian involvement in Syria and Iraq is revealed. This time, IRGC General Sardar Mohammad Pakpour, admits that members of the “Saberin Unit” were deployed by Tehran in Damascus and Baghdad. “Saberin” is the special unit of IRGC ground forces. The admission was made during a special event organized to commemorate the “martyrs” of Saberin Unit in the two conflicts. Pakpour said that Iran was forced to deploy the special unit, in order to defend the holy shrines and to fight “tafkiri” and “salafists”. He also said that 60% of the borders of the neighboring countries to Iran, are in the hand of terrorist groups (in particular he spoke about the dangerous borders with Pakistan and Afghanistan).
A mine blast killed three Pasdaran in Syria. They were killed in close to the highway Damascus Daraa (M5). The highway M5, is probably the main important highway in Syria, because connects the border with Jordan with Damascus, Aleppo and Daraa. The three killed were Ali Amrayi, Hassan Ghaffari, and Mohammad Hamidi. It is not sure that the three were members of IRGC, but one Iranian website published the picture of Hassan Ghaffari with Qassem Soleimani, head of Qods Force.
Sources: Now.mmedia.me, Al Quds Al Araby, Al Jazeera
Hundreds of residents of Damascus’ Mezze quarter are facing eviction as Iran prepares a new construction project near its embassy in the Syrian capital, according to a report of Al Quds Al Arabi. “They were given a deadline of two months to hand over their houses to the security forces so that they could be demolished and a new plan for an ‘Iranian towers’ project could be implemented behind the Iranian embassy, changing the area’s features and [demography]”, the article said.
Mr. Abaada, a local resident, denounced: “All the residents in the area around Mezze’s Basatin […], close to the Al-Habis junction, behind the Al-Razi Hospital next to the Iranian embassy and up to the Southern Roundabout received a notice of eviction and forced displacement…The Shiite fighters, or even the civilian relatives of these Iranian elements, offer to buy the houses or land of Damascenes near the Iranian embassy, as well as outside the area [designated for] the tower project…If Mezze residents refuse to sell then the woes of humiliation—which sometimes escalate in to battery and killing—will be waiting for them…A young man who lived behind the Al-Razi Hospital was killed by a Shiite fighter“.
Few days ago, the Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported that, the Syrian government had razed a neighborhood near the Mezze military airbase as part of a defensive measure. After the Government’s decision, more than 500 houses were demolished.
Many sources have started to spread the rumor about the Russian withdrawal from Syria. The London-based Arabic daily A-Sharq al-Awsat, reported that Moscow has started to recall its officials from Damascus. Around 100 of them have already left Syria. On the other side, it seems that around 1500 new Pasdaran were sent from Tehran to Syria and deployed in the area of Slinfah, West from Latakia. In particular, the new IRGC fighters were deployed close to the Jabal Al Akrad (also known as the Kurds’ mountain), where they could soon launch an offensive attack.
If the information will be confirmed, it represent a clear indication that Assad’s regime has accepted the partition of Syria and has started to focus on the establishment a “big Alawite State”. In this sense, the regime could soon use the Shia militias – Pasdaran + Hezbollah + Afghan mercenaries – in order to retake control of Jisr Ash-Shugur (where the SAA was forced to escape) and the highway Latakia – Saraqib (so called M4). Clearly, the main target of the regime remains the Damascus – Aleppo highway (known as M5). Here, probably, the regime will focus its attention on Ma’arat al Nu’man and Saraqib, today under rebel’s control, continuing the strategy of air attacks against Aleppo.