Iran has decided to send a first contingent of 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar Assad's forces against the largely Sunni rebellion, The Independent reported Sunday.
The British newspaper quoted pro-Iranian sources "which have been deeply involved in the Islamic Republic’s security" as saying that Tehran is now fully committed to preserving Assad's regime, even to the extent of proposing to open up a new 'Syrian' front on the Golan Heights against Israel.
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According to the report, Iran reached the decision to send the troops before last week's presidential election.
Syrian soldier in Qusair (Photo: Reuters)
The Iranian sources said they liaise constantly with Moscow, and that while Hezbollah's overall withdrawal from Syria is likely to be completed soon – with the maintenance of the Lebanese terror group's 'intelligence' teams inside Syria – Iran's support for Damascus will grow rather than wither.
US support coming? Syrian rebel (Photo: Reuters)
The report came just days after the US announced a dramatic change in its approach to the civil war in Syria, which has claimed the lives of some 93,000 people. After the US intelligence community assessed that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year, President Barack Obama said Washington will provide military support to the Syrian rebels.
According to The Independent, Washington's decision to arm Syria's Sunni Muslim rebels has "plunged America into the great Sunni-Shia conflict of the Islamic Middle East, entering a struggle that now dwarfs the Arab revolutions which overthrew dictatorships across the region."
For the first time, the British newspaper said, all of America's 'friends' in the region are Sunni Muslims and all of its enemies are Shiites. "Breaking all President Obama's rules of disengagement, the US is now fully engaged on the side of armed groups which include the most extreme Sunni Islamist movements in the Middle East," The Independent said in its report.
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