Syrian Opposition sources mentioned that the underlying conflict between Moscow and Tehran over Syria was revealed last month by Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution of Iran. He noted that the conflict has begun escalating; pointing out that the loss in Iranian troops in Syria has tolled up in numbers after Russian airstrikes began their mission there.
Free Syrian Army’s Brigadier, General Ahmad Rahal, linked the major losses that included high rank officers in Iranian ranks, to the Russian airstrikes that caused those losses, allegedly, by mistake. He also told Asharq Al-Awsat that over the past days, Russian air forces pounded a soccer-field-sized spot over a rural area in Homs killing a fair number of Iranian troops.
The FSA Brigadier also declared “the Russian Military Operation commander in Syria requested to visit the center of Iranian forces in rural areas in Damascus, yet the Iranian official refused his request, surprisingly that resulted in the death of the official along with the Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar in Jeremana last Sunday.”
On the Russian- Iranian contradiction around Assad’s presidency, Dr. Samir al-Taqi a strategic analyst, clarified “Russians know that Bashar al-Assad is the main obstacle for the political solution in Syria; nevertheless, both Russians and Iranians understand that downplaying and doubting Assad’s legitimacy would in turn make their presence in Syria illegitimate, this objective in particular is undisputed upon by Moscow and Tehran.”
Dr. Al-Taqi also pointed out that “Russians also insist on looking into the question of Assad post the period of political transition, which in turn reflects their wish of prolonging the war at least another 15 years, that is why we cannot be over-optimistic on convincing Russians to negotiate Assad’s presence.”