Estimates of Iran’s actual military and economic spending in Syria range from $30 billion to $105 billion to this date, according to a new report by a Lebanese French newspaper.
The Islamic Republic of Iran tries to maintain its control in Syria through economic investment, mainly in the real-estate sector, but Syria has been distancing itself from Iran, in order to rebuild its image in the international arena and mend its relationship with Arab countries.
Russia and Syria have both been pressuring Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) stationed in Syria, with the goal of driving them away from Israeli borders. Israeli media claim IRGC-backed militias have moved out from their previous positions surrounding the Damascus airport and are now stationed around Deir Ez-Zor and Homs, mainly due to this pressure.
Multiple reports suggest Iranian forces in Syria have declined from 20 thousand to 10 thousand in number and Iran tries to continue its activity through Syrian armed and intelligence forces, as well as its paid foreign and Syrian militia groups.
The French Lebanese newspaper adds that the Damascus regime is fully aware that one of Iran’s goals behind its heavy presence in Syria is the ability to engage Israel without bringing the trouble back home, which is not acceptable for the Assad regime if it plans to mend relations with Arab and Gulf countries.
Ten years after the beginning of the Syrian revolution, Iran is increasing its recruitment drive in the eastern Syria region of Deir Zour, where it has been expanding its presence since 2017, residents and experts say.
The region’s high unemployment rate is pushing young Syrians to enroll in militias backed by the IRGC where they can earn attractive salaries, sometimes double that of a government employee.
Despite constant IRGC claims that it is there to help civilians, it has been providing money and aid only to members of its militias, while the people of the area it controls suffer from poverty.