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Iran Sends Special Forces to Syria after Failure of IRGC - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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London- While Iran denies the validity of reports indicating that it is filling the gap resulting from the Russian withdrawal from Syria, Iran’s Deputy Coordinator of the Iranian Army Ground Force, Brigadier General Ali Arasteh, has revealed that his country will send a top army unit to Syria, in what commanders call an advisory mission.

News about sending Iranian elite military units coincided with sites close to the Revolutionary Guards announcing the death of seven of their militants in Aleppo battles in the past 24 hours and statements made by sources close to the Lebanese Hezbollah on the death of 50 Afghanis of the militants fighting along with the Syrian regime and supervised by Iran.

“We are sending commandos from army’s Brigade 65 and other units to Syria as advisers,” Arasteh told the Tasnim news agency on Monday.

Nevertheless, the announced deployment represents a departure from its constitutional mission to protect Iran’s territorial integrity.

In a common matter, Arasteh explained that the unit comprises “commandos” in a force from the 65th NOHAD, a Persian abbreviation for Airborne Special Forces Brigade.

In addition, videos released by Iranian sites showed that the Iranian advisers are participating militarily in the war, and the great number of dead and injured Iranians proves the opposite of what Iran is announcing.

Revealing the presence of Special Forces from Iran in Syria comes after the Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of his forces. Thus, Iran is trying to fill the gap Russia has left behind in the country by boosting its forces and supporting Iraqi militias.

For his part, Arasteh did not specify the date to send the units from Brigade 65, yet in March 2016 he first revealed Tehran’s plans to send Special Forces and snipers as military advisers to Syria and Iraq.

In this regard, Tasnim News agency said, quoting Arasteh, “the army utilizes a broad range of drones.” He did not mention whether forces in Syria are supplied with these drones, yet a short advertising movie for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, released in February, showed Iranian forces using Drone planes in Syrian battles.

On the other hand, Iran described the presence of its military forces in the Syria war as “advisory” after it had denied in the first two years of the war the presence of any Iranian military force in the country. Iran announced, after confirming its presence, the death of a large number of Revolutionary Guards’ commanders and militias affiliated to them.

It is the first time that the Iranian army reveals the presence of its Special Forces in Syria, and these ground forces’ mission is usually limited to defending Iranian borders from any attack, according to the Iranian constitution.

In December 2014, Fares News Agency said, quoting Iranian Army Commander Major General Atalla Salehi, “we are planning to send the commandos Airborne Special Forces Brigade 65 to a number of Navy operations in Aden”.