Iran deploys special forces to advise in Syria

By
April 4, 2016 15:21

“The regular army has begged for some time to get involved in Syria because it would be a source of prestige and funding,” says Iran expert Ali Alfoneh.

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Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards take part in a military parade in Tehran

Members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards take part in a military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Iran’s army deployed special forces from the 65th Nohed Brigade on an advisory mission, an official said on Monday.

Deputy chief liaison of the Army Ground Force, General Ali Arasteh, told Iran’s Tasnim News Agency that advisers from the 65th Nohed Brigade are now stationed in Syria, that fighters from other units in the army are active in Syria and that the army utilizes a broad range of drones.

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Ali Alfoneh, an independent Iran expert, Tweeted an estimate that there have been 353 combat fatalities from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) since January 2012, including 227 since the September 29, 2015, Russian military involvement.

So far in April, there have been five, he said.

“The regular army has begged for some time to get involved in Syria because it would be a source of prestige and funding,” Alfoneh told The Jerusalem Post.

So far, Alfoneh has not noted any casualties among the soldiers from the Nohed Brigade.

Citing an earlier report of an Iranian commander saying special forces would be deployed to Syria, Amir Toumaj, an Iran research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, wrote in The Long War Journal at the end of March that this would mark the first time army forces from the Rapid Response Battalions are outside of Iran since the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

“Since 1979, however, the clerics have marginalized the Army in favor of the IRGC. The Guard receives better equipment and funding, even though it is only one-third in size [150,000 men compared to 350,000],” wrote Toumaj.

The announced deployment “represents a departure from its constitutional mission to protect Iran’s territorial integrity,” he added Separately, Tasnim reported that Iranian air-defense base deputy commander, General Ali Reza Sabahi-Fard, said operational capabilities would improve because of the use of new missile systems and the doubling of the number of radar stations.


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