Iran has spent up to $10 billion to support Syrian President Bashar Assad, paying government troops and providing weapons and logistical support, according to The Times of London.
The high level of spending on a conflict whose outcome remains decidedly undecided has caused a rift between Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his spy chief Qassem Suleimani, who had promised that Iranian support would crush the uprising, according to intelligence seen by the Times.
“Suleimani promised Khamenei that he would turn the situation in Syria around and has failed to deliver,” a Western defence source told The Times.
According to the report, the ongoing conflict has caused Iran explore ways to hedge its bets should Assad fall, reopening talks with opposition groups such as the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
“They need time to build the necessary alliances to make sure that Iran is not expelled from Syria for ever,” a defense source told the Times.