Syrian protest 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A recent visit of the heads of the Quds force to Syria is the "strongest indication yet" that Iran is supplying the Assad regime with weapons, AFP quoted a senior US official as saying Saturday.
Major-General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds force, visited Syria this month, AFP reported. "We think this relates to Iranian support for the Syrian government's attempts to suppress its people," the senior US official said.
'Syrian forces kill 10' after attack on monitors
“We are confident that he was received at the highest levels of the
Syrian government, including by President Assad,” the official said on
condition of anonymity. “The US government believes Iran has supplied
Syria with munitions” for use in the military crackdown.
United States has long suspected Iran of supplying Damascus with
weapons as Assad struggles to cope with mass protests against his rule.
Earlier in the week, Turkish customs officials intercepted four trucks
suspected of carrying military equipment from Iran to Syria.
officially denied reports about arms shipments to Syria. A statement by
the Iranian embassy in Turkey obtained by CNN Friday stated: "We deny
such claims and we would like to state that the Islamic Republic of Iran
sees people's demands to be paid attention to as a way of providing
domestic security and stability and believes that dialogue between the
Syrian government and the opposition is the way out from the current
United Nations has said that more than 5,000 civilians have been killed
in the unrest which erupted in March, inspired by Arab revolts
elsewhere. Authorities accuse armed Islamist militants of killing 2,000
members of the security forces.
The crackdown against protest has been ongoing despite an Arab League monitoring mission
now about 165 strong, which began work on December 26. Its task is to
verify if Syria is complying with an agreement to halt the crackdown.
Some reports indicate that the killing of protesters has actually increased
since the arrival of the League monitors.