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'Iranian, Russian arms giving Assad edge in Syria'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
06/02/2013
'Washington Post' reports drones, advanced equipment for gathering intel aiding Assad in fight against opposition forces.
 
Sophisticated weapons that Iran and Russia have provided to Syrian President Bashar Assad have "cemented an advantage" gained by his forces in recent weeks with the arrival of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing Middle Eastern intelligence officials and analysts.

“We’re seeing a turning point in the past couple of months, and it has a lot to do with the quality and type of weapons and other systems coming from Iran and Russia,” one official said.

Iranian surveillance drones, anti-mortar systems and advanced monitoring equipment to gather intel are among the technology helping Assad's forces track and destroy opposition fighters, according to the report.

In addition to the weaponry provided to Assad, new tactics being used by Syrian military leaders suggest foreign training and counsel, the Post quoted experts as saying.

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“The government troops clearly have a much better view of the battlefield, and they’re better able to respond to incoming fire — sometimes even before the other side can land a blow,” an intelligence official was quoted as saying.

While Assad's forces have, with the help of Russian and Iranian military aid, been able to beat back rebel advances in some areas of Syria, the Post quoted analysts as saying the government was unlikely to recapture other parts of the country already in rebel hands.

"Foreign assistance to the Syrian regime has allowed Assad’s forces to make some recent tactical gains, but overall, they’ve lost a lot of ground since the conflict began," a US official stated.
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