Iran has offered $500 a month and residency permits to Afghan refugees in return for commitments to fight in Syria, a report by the Wall Street Journal on Saturday quoted Afghan and Western officials as saying.

Iran has also reportedly offered education benefits to the children of recruits.

The WSJ quoted a Western official as saying that the recruitment of Afghan refugees was part of a greater strategy to lower the number of casualties sustained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and its allies in the Syrian civil war.

As Syria's civil war commenced its fourth year of fighting, Iran has stepped up support on the ground for President Bashar Assad, providing elite teams to gather intelligence and train troops, sources with knowledge of military movements have said.

This further backing from Tehran, along with deliveries of munitions and equipment from Moscow, has helped to keep Assad in power at a time when neither his own forces nor opposition fighters have a decisive edge on the battlefield.

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