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Iran increases presence in Syria

Revolutionary Guards, Hezbollah operatives aiding Assad's brutal crackdown on protesters now number in the hundreds

Ron Ben-Yishai
Published: 02.14.12, 22:02 / Israel News

Iran has significantly increased its involvement in Syria over the past few days, Ynet learned Monday.

 

The presence of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah operatives assisting Syrian President Bashar Assad's in his brutal crackdown of protesters now number in the high hundreds; while the Arab League said that it will not supply the rebels with arms unless the bloodshed comes to a halt.

 

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The majority of Iranian and Hezbollah operatives in Syria supply Assad's army with intelligence and train the Damascus forces on weapons' maintenance and reconnaissance. A smaller group of operatives is involved in the actual fighting.  

 

 

Tehran has also increased the financial assistance it lends Damascus. It also maintains regular flights to the Syrian capital – a practice Arab League members have suspended due to the escalating violence.

 

Iran's financial aid is one of Assad's lifelines, as it keeps the middle class in Damascus and Halab (Aleppo) from rising against him as well.

 

The Islamic Republic's decision to bolster ties with Syria at a time when Tehran has to deal with growing international sanctions, imposed on it over its refusal to suspend its nuclear program, indicates that the ayatollah's regime believes Assad and his government can survive the uprising.

 

The rebels have long claimed that Iran is helping Assad – an assessment backed by Britain and the United States.

 

Meanwhile, the Arab League is preparing a draft on a UN Security Council resolution on Syria. The draft coincides with a recent decision passed by the pan-Arab organization, which urges its members to "lend any political and monetary assistance possible" to the Opposition.

 

An Arab diplomat said that the Arab League "Will offer the Opposition funding and diplomatic assistance at first, but if the regime's killing continues, we must help the citizens protect themselves… The decision grants the Arab nations the possibility to defend the Syrian people."

 

 

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