JERUSALEM—Iranian officers who lead Shiite volunteers from Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan have taken over the battle against rebels in southern Syria, within six miles of the Golan border, according to a reserve Israeli army general.
Gen. (res.) Israel Ziv, who led counter-terrorism efforts for the Israeli General Staff, wrote in Yediot Achronot Thursday that ten thousand volunteers have been flown in by Tehran to bolster the flagging efforts of the regular Syrian army and their Hezbollah allies from Lebanon in meeting an offensive by Sunni rebels pushing towards Damascus from near the Jordanian border.
“Iran is taking over the reins in Syria,” said Ziv. Members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stay close to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on the grounds that he needs protection, he said. “In fact, no military decision [in Syria] is made without [the IRGC].” He described Assad as “a puppet looking out at his lost land.”
The presence of Iranian advisers in Syria and Lebanon in recent years is well known but Ziv writes that there is now an entirely new dimension with Iranian officers leading combat troops within six miles of the Golan Heights, captured by Israel in the Six Day War. There has thus far been no direct clash with Israeli troops, but an Iranian general and five other Iranian military personnel, as well as six Hezbollah militiamen, were killed when an Israeli aircraft attacked vehicles reconnoitering the Golan border in January.
Ziv said the Iranian-led forces were displacing Syrian troops who had been deployed opposite the Golan since the 1973 Yom Kippur War and who kept the Golan line the most peaceful of Israel’s borders with Arab states.
The general said the steady erosion of Assad’s regime since the civil war began four years ago has made him increasingly dependent on Iranian financial and military assistance. What is happening near the Golan border, wrote Ziv, constitutes a strategic threat to Israel no less than that of Iran’s nuclear program.
The IRGC no longer has confidence in the efficacy of the Hezbollah fighters who were supposed to bear the brunt of the fighting in southern Syria, wrote Ziv. They have taken control of the fighting, with the Shiite volunteers. There has been no mention of direct intervention of Iranian combat troops.
The diminution of American presence in the area, wrote Ziv, has enabled Iran to cultivate its ambitions as a regional power. “The U.S. has been attacking [the Islamic State] but it has totally ignored the changes to the balance of forces in the area. It has in fact given backing to the Iranian takeover of Damascus in return for a shaky nuclear arms deal,” wrote the Israeli reserve general.
Iran is close to 1,000 miles from Israel and is separated from it by Iraq and Syria. Iran and Israel have never been at war with each other but have periodically engaged in clandestine operations against each other.
Iran Briefing | News Press Focus on Human Rights Violation by IRGC, Iran Human Rights
Sep 24, 2017 Comments Off on Iran blocks flights to Iraq’s Kurdish region ahead of independence vote
Feb 13, 2017 Comments Off on US Commander Warns of Russian, Iranian, Pakistani Influence in Afghanistan
Jan 17, 2017 Comments Off on Analysis: Iran’s game plan in Afghanistan
Dec 07, 2016 Comments Off on How Iran closed the Mosul ‘horseshoe’ and changed Iraq war
Dec 10, 2017 Comments Off on Johnson Meets Rohani, Discusses Case Of Jailed Iranian-British Woman
Dec 05, 2017 Comments Off on Three Activists Sentenced to Prison in Trial “Directed” by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry
Dec 04, 2017 Comments Off on Saleh’s killing throws Iran’s Yemen strategy into disarray
Nov 29, 2017 Comments Off on Iran Reshapes the Middle East
Dec 10, 2017 Comments Off on Johnson Meets Rohani, Discusses Case Of Jailed Iranian-British WomanJohnson Meets Rohani, Discusses Case Of Jailed Iranian-British Woman Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Tehran on December 10 as he continued efforts to gain the...
Dec 04, 2017 Comments Off on Saleh’s killing throws Iran’s Yemen strategy into disarraySaleh’s killing throws Iran’s Yemen strategy into disarray The surprise decision of Yemen’s slain former leader, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to reach out to Saudi Arabia, was widely interpreted as heralding...
Jul 14, 2016 Comments Off on Corps’ one hundred thousand of triggered missiles in Lebanon:An official Israel-threatening by CorpsIran Briefing: Since August 7, 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini declared the last Friday of Ramadhan as “Quds Day”, the Islamic Republic has always tried to hold an imposing ceremony by using state resources as well as requiring people’s involvement. This year’s Quds march had fundamental...