'Quds Force would aid Syria in foreign intervention'

Iran Revolutionary Guards denies US claims that it has provided weapons to Assad to suppress protests, Al Arabiya reports.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
January 16, 2012 11:25
2 minute read.
Iran's Revolutinary Guard

Iranian Revolutionary Guard 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Iran would provide aid to Syria if it came under attack by external forces, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards official told pan-Arab Al Arabiya news channel Monday, after the US accused the Guards' Quds Force of providing weapons to the embattled regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in order to suppress protests.

The unnamed Iranian source insisted that Iran - one of Syria's strongest allies - has "not yet" interfered in Syrian affairs in the ten months of conflict between opposition groups and government forces, and in which over 5,000 people have been killed according to the United Nations.

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The source said that Iran believes that the situation in Syria is different than "other countries that saw similar protests," adding that the Revolutionary Guards "surround" Syria through their allies in Iraq and Lebanon.

The Iranian military official also said that "sources" in Syria have assured Tehran through official channels that the situation in Syria is "stable," despite reports of continued deaths in clashes between anti- and pro-government forces.

At least 32 people were gunned down by security forces Sunday,
Al Jazeera reported according to opposition groups. Syrian authorities say 2,000 members of the security forces have also been killed.

Qatar's emir
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani became the first Arab leader Saturday to express interest in sending troops to stop Assad's "killing." Thani made the comments in an interview with CBS.

A senior US official said Saturday that the recent visit of
of senior commanders in Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force to Syria is the "strongest indication yet" that Iran is supplying the Assad regime with weapons, according to AFP.

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Maj.-Gen. Qassem 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.

“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.

The 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.

Reuters contributed to this report


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