Syria Feature: Is Iran Really Preparing to Send 50,000 Troops to Save Assad?


PHOTO: General Qassam Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Qods Force — was he inside Syria last week?

UPDATE 1500 GMT: An Assad regime official has told AFP that thousands of Iranian and Iraqi forces have been deployed recently, first to defend Damascus and then to regain territory in northwest Syria.

“Around 7,000 Iranian and Iraqi fighters have arrived in Syria over the past few weeks and their first priority is the defense of the capital. The larger contingent is Iraqi,” the “security official” said.

He continued, “The goal is to reach 10,000 men to support the Syrian army and pro-government militias, firstly in Damascus, and then to retake Jisr al-Shughour [in Idlib Province] because it is key to the Mediterranean coast and the Hama region.”

Rebels captured Jisr al-Shughour, near the Turkish border, on April 26 as they all but ejected Syrian forces from Idlib Province in northwest Syria.

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Social media is buzzing with rumors, sparked by Arab newspapers, that Iran is preparing to save Syria’s Assad regime by providing 50,000 troops and taking command of Syrian forces.

The most dramatic claim is from the Saudi outlet al-Arabiya, which cites a report by the Iranian paramilitary organization Ansar-e Hezbollah: “Iran must send 50,000 soldiers from the infantry force to Syria to manage the war there and prevent the fall of the Assad regime, which has begun to collapse recently.”

Neither al-Arabiya nor the Western media spreading the report explained how the report of Ansar-e Hezbollah, a hardline organization which is outside the Government and Iranian military, might be connected to any plans by the regime to step up involvement.

There is more substance in reports that General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the elite Qods Force of the Revolutionary Guards, was inside Syria last week. The commander was assessing the situation after rebel victories, including the capture of almost all of Idlib Province in the northwest of the country. Differing reports put him in Jourin, 40 km (25 miles) east of Latakia, or closer to the frontlines in northern Hama Province.

A claimed headline statement from Soleimani — “The world will be surprised by what we and the Syrian military leadership are preparing for the coming days” — appears to be a distortion of a speech he gave on May 25.

See Iran Video: Head of Qods Force Says Obama Is “Accomplice in Plot with Islamic State in Iraq”

Far more useful is the report that Soleimani discussed how to bolster the Assad regime’s essential line of defense — threatened by the recent rebel advances from Latakia and Tartous through Homs to Damascus and to the Lebanese border.

Local sources say that, since a rebel offensive last year that tried to close on Hama city and reached Hama airport, the Syrian military — with Iranian assistance — has “levelled villages” and built fortifications. There are also claims that civilian movement has been restricted recently in Hama city.

The sources say it is possible that, with Soleimani’s guidance, the Syrian military may try to move from the defensive to the offensive. The immediate contest would be in the al-Ghab Plain in northern Hama Province.

After the rebels took the city of Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib Province to the north in late April, they occupied about one-third of the plain. A successful regime counter-offensive would relieve pressure that is threatening an opposition advance on Hama, Aleppo, or Latakia.

Sources cannot confirm the claim that Soleimani has installed an Iranian commander over Syrian troops in Hama.

The pro-Hezbollah Lebanese daily as-Safir wrote on Tuesday, “During the last [few] days, and through a joint Syrian-Iranian-Iraqi decision, more than 20,000 Iranian, Iraqi, and Lebanese fighters have poured into the Idlib area.”

As-Safir said the troops were sent to Jourin, where General Soleimani had held discussions, and the southern part of Idlib Province.

Claiming Arab sources, the site as said, “The Iranians, who hesitated after the fall of Idlib…and underestimated Turkey’s plans in northern Syria, now see the Syrian front as a priority in the open confrontation from Iraq to Qalamoun [inside Syria near the Lebanese border] and Yemen.”

Lebanese media, linked to the anti-Hezbollah March 14 movement, and opposition outlets support as-Safir’s claim that Iran is encouraging the return of Iraqi Shia militias to fight in Syria. Some of those units had returned this spring to Iraq from Syria, both to pursue the offensive against the Islamic State in Tikrit in northern Iraq and to join the response to the Islamic State’s capture of the city of Ramadi in the west of the country.

The rumors of an escalated Iranian military involvement accompany a series of meetings between high-level Iranian and Syrian politicians, including President Assad, in the last month. In the clearest signal of intense talks, the Supreme Leader’s top aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, made an unannounced visit to Assad in Damascus. The discussion came a day after Velayati saw Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut.

As Assad’s forces have retreated in the northwest and south of Syria, Hezbollah has been pursuing an offensive in the Qalamoun region. The campaign appears to be seeking the establishment of a “buffer zone” against rebels in the event of the further decline of Syrian forces or even the fall of Assad.

Syria has also been seeking more Iranian economic involvement in the conflict, pursuing the renewal of a $3.6 billion line of credit from July 2013 which is almost exhausted. Reports indicate Damascus is asking for $4 billion, but that the Iranians are not offering more than $1 billion so far.

On Tuesday, the ceremonial meetings continued, with Syrian Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Jihad al-Laham visiting President Hassan Rouhani, top official Ali Shamkhani, and his Iranian counterpart Ali Larijani in Tehran.

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    • “”Where will Iran get the Billions………..””
      CR, on the long run from the abolition of sanctions against Iran. That`s why Khamenei surely will make the nuke deal. But that’s just only one move in the game. Sunnis are the majority and Afghan fighters employed by Suleimani can`t win the war.
      That`s why Suleimani and Assad are forced to use Islamic state as their tool.

        • Ali, you need glasses?

          Since the beginning of the Assad war against Syrian civilians the enlisted members of the SAA have dropped by over half from a pre- war figure of 325,000 to 150,000 soldiers in the army in December 2014, due to casualties, desertions and draft dodging.

          It means: The proportion of Sunni population in the SAA measured by the Sunnis as the 75% majority of the population is negligible.

          That`s why Suleimani is deploying militias and an insufficient number of foreign fighters vom Afghanistan – but Suleimanis helpless action will not be a suficient answer to win the war. Btw – Assad is losing the war – at the moment he has lost 80% of the country. It`s logical that his head will fell as a last resort because he has no answers and Suleimani shows at moment that he also has no .
          answers, too.

        • @Ali Bisetoon – But the Sunnis in the SAA run away when confronted with the rebels. Why would the Sunnis in the SAA want to risk their lives for a leader who wants to partition Syria?

          • As that wise saying goes, when the only tool you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail, soleimani is the hammer. The mullah say syrian problem can not be solved by force, and then they send a militant to find a solution.

            Let islamic republic enter its Vietnam….

            • guess you will be scratching your head, why the freedom fighters you supported blew up a structure of strategic value in 10-15 years.

              you know, like the freedom fighters of aghanistan

              • None of the men who took part in the 9/11 attacks were supported by the United States, and I’m pretty sure none of them were veterans of Afghanistan; two fought in Bosnia for a short time. In fact most of them were children while the Afghan war was going on. So your point was…

              • @Ali Just as rebels are about to liberate Idlib province from Assad, ISIS attacks rebels in North – Aleppo with the assistance of Assad Regime air strikes. Assad and IS are one thing. Mass murderer will not survive this war – neither Assad nor Bagdadi.

  1. Soleimani: (Who is a) Accomplice in Plot with Islamic State in Iraq (and Syria) ”?
    mark says:
    Syria Regime airstrikes on rebel hold Harbul in northern rural #Aleppo to support #IslamicState in their assault

    Looking to the map Harbul lies almost midway between Sawran and Aleppo. This area is lost for Assad since years. But why Assad attacks on Harbul at the moment? Because this type of Assad airraids on Harbul are achieving an advantage for the Islamic State.

    What is needed is a list of these many examples to explain and to make unequivocally clear on which side Assad, Soleimani and IS are fighting: All three are fighting on the same side.

    Nothing would be so convincing as a completely rational report that the truth is that IS is a tool of Assad and Suleimani playing into their hands.

    • Very true. Harbul is south of Mare. It is not on the way to Azaz or the Salameh border crossing with Turkey. It looks like ISIS and SAA are trying to cut the rebels off from Aleppo city from the north. Is this because Assad wants to take back Aleppo from the rebels? But then why would ISIS want to help SAA to take back any territory? This is so that SAA can hand over Aleppo to ISIS, withdraw, and not lose it to the rebels.

      • “”Is this because Assad wants to take back Aleppo from the rebels?””
        No, he can`t.
        But it`s Assad policy to help IS to gain territory if he can not control the territory anymore.
        The function of IS for Assad is two-sided: 1. To contain the rebels militarily, to make them busy and to take away the military power of the rebels with a two front war 2. IS is an excellent propaganda tool for Assad. Assad can claim that he is fighting terrorists – because nobody knows that the truth is that Assad isn`t fighting the islamic state.

        • Re: “But it`s Assad policy to help IS to gain territory if he can not control the territory anymore.”

          I’m sure people from the state department and our intelligence agencies tried to explain this to the inflexible moron in the White House and I’m sure he ignores their wanings as he ignores advice from the military and the state department that Assad must go to defeat ISIS, that we need the rebels as ground troops and that they will never agree to an a role in which they are supposed to fight ISIS only.

          Recall how he previously pooh-poohed repeated warnings from the CIA regarding ISIS, dismissiing them with his infamous JV comparison. Afterwards, when things went south, he then had the never to blame the CIA for “not informing him the threat was so serious.

          Obama is a piece of work, a slogan-driven president who “Don’t do stupid things” translates to “Don’t do anything” and whose underestimation of the rebels (farmers and teachers) in 2011 he still held to as recently as a few months ago when he repeated that crap. I’ll bet, even after Idlib, he still believes I.

          Now when ISIS badly needs a defeat and could suffer a major one north of Aleppo, Obama withholds the coalition forces not recognizing the value of maximizing any ISIS defeat.

          • There is also one more dimension to this complex dynamics. Assume Obama wishes to partition Syria (which is also very good for the Kurds and the minorities and even ISIS), and we know the Sunnis are dead set against that. Obama needs to put pressure on the rebels to come to the negotiating table and sign a peace accord.

            If Assad is resigned to the coast, then Obama needs to now put pressure on the rebels.

            If rebels keep on advancing, that is not going to happen. So Maybe rebels will not get air support but Kurds who are pro-partition will get support.

            ISIS for the time being is happy with partitioning. Maybe then can carve a canton for themselves (DEZ). They will play along. In the same way that they do not intend (yet) to attack Basrah or Kurdistan with all its oil, why then bother attacking Latakia and Tartus ?

            And hey if Syria can be partitioned, why not Iraq? ISIS may be able to get its own country of Anbar/DEZ/Raqqa/Palmyra if it stops being a pest to its neighbors.

            • As I’ve said before: it’s the war of all against all.

              The FSA is fighting alongside the SAA and the YPG in Hasakeh city.

              Despite what some people here liker to pretend, rebels have repeated switched between the FSA, the IF; JAN and Daesh.

              The FSA and the regime co-operate in Aleppo, even as they fight, to maintain essential services to both sides of the city.

              The regime buys oil from Daesh even as Daesh beheads SAA prisoners.

              The simplest explanation for the SAAF’s apparent support for Daesh in northern Aleppo province is that after Idlib they see JAN and the FSA as the principal threat to their position in the city.

  2. The United States has accused the Syrian military of carrying out air strikes to help Islamic State fighters advance around the northern city of Aleppo, messages posted on the U.S. Embassy Syria official Twitter feed said.

    “With these latest reports, (the military) is not only avoiding ISIL lines, but, actively seeking to bolster their position………………………………..”

      • Brainwashed by Assad propaganda?
        During the year 20011 when Assad shot down peaceful demonstrators he has claimed that he is fighting terrorists, too
        Today In contrast Assad keeps his hand protectively over the Islamic state.
        Fighting terrorists is something different ……………………………………


    At the moment, Bashar al-Assad seems to be regrouping his forces in areas he is sure he can control. “The regime forces did not fight hard in Palmyra, they chose to pull out, and again the same thing when they pulled out from Idlib and headed towards the coast.”

    “It was clear that the Syria regime has accepted the idea of Syria’s partitioning. And they are focusing their efforts on maintaining their hold on the coast and Damascus as well as the road that links Damascus to the coast.”

    Kashan thinks Assad wants to keep Damascus as a “bargaining chip” in forthcoming negotiations.

    • Kazemi,

      Thank you. While reporting on the rumors about Iran, I have held off circulating the Russia report because the sources may be putting out some disinformation to further unsettle the Assad regime (or at least our view of the Assad regime).


      • Yes, the Russia report was rather odd. My take is that Assad needs an excuse to convince the Alawites (and maybe the Iranians) that they should be happy if they can settle for the coast only. So Russia takes the lead and pretends it is offloading Syria, and that throws the Alawites into a panic, to accept the eventual loss of Damascus. Alawites have I believe most of their assets and investments amassed after all these years, in Damascus. It would be a major blow to them to lose Damascus. This all on top of what they will lose in Aleppo and Idlib.

    • Sorry can’t resist: lunching pad.. if only… then they could swap sandwiches instead of bullets and bombs.
      You mean ‘launching’ pad.

  4. 50000 troops? I’m not sure sounds a bit far thatched. If they will only give £1 billion I doubut they send 50,000 mooks, 10,000 or even 30,000 maybe but 50,000 that like 2-3 army divisions. If they going to pay in cash to keep their puppet regime in power why would be willing to pay in their own blood for it?

    This sounds like rumour, I sure it has some truth but I bet been really exaggerated. This won’t work it might delay the invrtable but all it will achieve is more money lost for Iran and not mention all the Iranian troops that will be killed. Which will weaken the mullocracy when they inevitably lose. If the Argentine Junta collapsed after losing 649 personnel in the Falklands War, who know what kind of damage a few thousand dead Quds forces will to them. Argentina was also in big economic problems at the time.

    I was Syrian I would not worry about Persian troops to much, Iran has not won a war since 1796.

    • Neither would I worry about the Persians. They bluster a lot (maybe not as bad as the Arabs).

      Persians ceased to be warriors ever since the Islamic invasion. They did some opportunistic attacks and lootings, but not empire building, which is what the Islamists think wrongly they are doing in a bid to become a player at the world geopolitics table.

      Iranians are good at blackmail. So watchout if they get their hands on a nuclear bomb. Iranians are also very self-important and vainglorious (which they confuse that with nationalism/patriotism). That is another reason they want a bomb so badly. Iranians spend 75% of the time worrying about their stature in the world, and 25% of the time actually building a country.

      • It`s not the point. The 2006 Libanon war without Quodsforce would not had happened. And the Yemen war without iranian backing
        neither. Without Iranians Nasrallah would not try to topple the Libanon Taif system and Hizbollah would not fight against syrians on syrian territory. Without Iran the gaza war had not occurred and Sudan would not be a failed state. Not to speak about Bahrain, Hamas and the tragedy happened in Iraq by iranian influence.

        • you honestly believe that saudi arabia bombing yemen is “fighting iran” and not reinstalling their puppet which has zero support inside Yemen.

          Sudan has severed ties with Iran, its now a client state of Saudi Arabia, the revival still hasnt happened.

          Bahrain was invaded by Saudi Arabia, to put down “popular protests” (same thing that is good in Syria), against a minority autocrat, damm strange that you dont support Assad, but yeah he isnt a royal, he was actually elected (be it in a non 100% clean election, which is still a lot more, than inhereting a country).

          now with your Iran iran iran BS response

          • Kim Jong-un was elected too so I guess the fact his dad was dear leader meant he technically did not inherit like Bashar means its OK. I sure feel the same for when Anistasio Somoza was succeeded by his sons or Fidel being replaced by his brother. But they where called president so I guess that means they did not inherit power. Also the Bahrain government killed way less of its own people and a smaller percentage of its population. Saudi Arabia was wrong to do what it did. However I more objection to Iran doing that because its stooge has killed more people though in principle both are equally wrong. In principle the USA backing the Chillan Junta was just as wrong as the USSR backing the Derg in Ethiopia, the in practice the worst would be the one who’s vassal killed more civilians. An organisation’s religion or political orientation dose not affect my view on them their actions do specially the number killed. I do not think Himmler is worse than Ceausescu because one was a Nazi and the other a Commie the former is worse because he killed more people. If Ceausescu had killed more people I would think of him as worst. Nicholae’s atheism and Heinrich’s Viking Paganism did not affect my opinion on them in the slightest.

            Also call me anti-Iran when you have not heard of the Cyrus Cylinder (thought I don’t think many other commenters hear have)? An Iranian not knowing that would be like a Frenchman who dose not know what the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen is. Every Iranian I have met has been really impressed that know of the Cylinder.

      • “Persians ceased to be warriors ever since the Islamic invasion. They did some opportunistic attacks and lootings, but not empire building, which is what the Islamists think wrongly they are doing in a bid to become a player at the world geopolitics table.”

        Never heard of Nader Shah?,d.dGc

  5. Bloody bastards. Sending more and more soldiers who have NOTHING to do in Syria…
    This is no longer just a struggle against the Syrian regime and the butchers that rule it: it’s now also a struggle for the independence of Syria toward Iran and the rest of the world.
    Taking control of the Syrian regime and ruling Syria in its name…! What is this, some kind of neo-colonialism? *spits* And I’m not mentionning ISIS and its brainless foreign morons! Trying to carve a “caliphate” in the people’s soil… Disgusting.
    First the Ottomans, then the French, then Syria and now Iran and its spawns? This is a struggle for the independence of Syria and its people. It’s only the extension of what began on March 15th 2011.
    To hell with Assad, Khamenei, Baghdadi and Lavrov! The Syrian people will never be slaves again!
    ! حرية أو ال موت Freedom or death!

      • “”it’s now also a struggle for the independence of Syria toward Iran and the rest of the world.””

        ASCWCATP – I agree with you 105% that butchers are trying to rule syria at the moment.
        But the syrian war was also a war of neo-imperialismus from the very beginning – from the day on when syrian children were tortured from the regime and peaceful demonstrators were shot by the regime like rabbits. Without Putin and Khamenei Assad would has gone since long.

        • Pretty much. The Syrian regime is on life support: the fact that some top officials of the SAA have become rather angry at the idea of the Iranians giving them orders shows the extent of Iranian control over the country. Assad has the support of Russia, the Iranians, the Hezbollah (Iran’s spawn in Lebanon), even North Korea, and yet after four years he still isn’t able to suppress the people’s uprising. In the midst of multiple economical issues, as well as widespread opposition to the war, the US withdrew from Vietnam in 1972 and we know what happened next. In the next years Iran won’t be able to keep this support up, as the nuclear talks are still going slowly and the sanctions have been putting quite a strain on Iran’s economy. Sooner or later they’ll have to let the regime down if they want to survive themselves. It’s only a matter of time.
          Syria will be Iran’s demise.

    • “What is this, some kind of neo-colonialism?”

      I think, in spite of the veneer of modern ultra-Islamism from Khomeini, this is underneath a revival of a very old imperialism. Look at maps of the Empire of Cyrus the Great.

    • Sure, and you will get your freedom and independence. The same way as Libyans got it. Small countries always take sides in order to survive. You have to choose now. You may survive and maybe even prosper depend on which side you will choose and if that one will actually win. Do not choose side or choose wrong one and you will die.

  6. Even money can’t buy an army of 50,000 readied from scratch for war. It takes years of training and discplining to make an army. Even if Iran could collect this many volunteers by paying high salaries, they would be useless in a war zone. Fact is that economically the Iranian regime is broke. They have tightened the belt to the point that they don’t even have 1,000 real fighters to spare.

    Everything that is happening now is posturing for the eventual partition of Syria.

    When Suleimani says he will get 50,000 people to push back the rebels, it means if you don’t give us the coast, then we will go and raise this army and fight you for another 2 years and we will be back here at square zero and you will have to give us the coast.

    The rebels are not going to let go of the coast so easy. Some would consider it high treason if they negotiate away the coast. This is in-line with Arab culture, where saving face is more important than actual results.

    Damascus is the trump card for Assad. The real question is Jisr. What happens to Jisr, and maybe what happens to Qusayr. Otherwise the plan is very clear. Everything to the west of the Orontes goes to Assad, while Damascus and Qalamoun goes to the rebels. That river is a sharp line in the sand.

    Who knows, Assad may even promise that he will bomb ISIS if he is given the coast. That is why Assad wants a strong ISIS so the rebels come to the negotiating table in the first place and come in a weak position.

    For example if Assad pulls out of Aleppo in a “pretend combat” like he did in Palmyra, and ISIS gets to inherit Aleppo, that would be a very bad card dealt to the rebels.

    That is why we see fighting north of Aleppo today. ISIS is not after Azaz or the Turkish border. ISIS is after Aleppo proper, to replace SAA, in a coordinated choreography.

    If ISIS can get past Mare, it will then pretend attack the Aleppo prison/Sheikh Najjar and SAA will pretend fight back (actually withdraw), and maybe both will simultaneously attack the green areas of Aleppo, eventually SAA withdrawing to Neyrab and ISIS holding on to most of Aleppo.

    So now the rebels have a big problem. Are they going to fight for Aleppo or for the coast? They can’t do both. They may even see joint attacks by ISIS and SAA directed at the rebels, until they croak at the settlement.

    They will be forced to accept the settlement so they can now turn their guns on ISIS. Who knows maybe Obama will start helping them once they settle with Assad.

    Does US want a partition of Syria? I believe so. Everyone wants it, except for the rebels who have suffered the most. I don’t know how many Alawites there may be in Damascus, but the rebels will probably take out their frustration on them, and Assad will sell them short, to get a coast deal.

    After a peace deal where Damascus is lost, Assad will quickly find that he is unwanted and will take the first flight out.

    • Why shouldn’t Iran intervene massively? Whose going to stop it? President Red Line, the man world famous and notorious back down encouraged Putin to invade the Crimea and then the rest of the Ukraine?

      Having this guy standing in the way–this accessory to mass murder and genocide, this enabler of Chechnya strategy–, is all that prevents an NFZ, arming the rebels, getting rid of Assad and forming an alliance to go after ISIS.

      Suppose Obama were to resign or keel over a fatal heart attack. We could deal with this problem in short order.(or maybe not since Joe Biden’s long time advisor on foreign affairs (Tony Blinken) has reportedly been a big advocate of “We must work with Assad to defeat terror.”)

      More than Khamenei and Putin, Obama the Horrrific an d his dogma-driven stupidity has done more to keep Assad afloat and to allow so many crimes. Obama is the enemy of Sunni muslims worldwide–a softshoe version of Hitler and Stalin who instead of killing Sunnis directly, has others do his dirty work for him.

  7. I don’t doubt Iranians nationalism, fighting spirit and readiness to die for their country when it comes to defending their borders. I think some here underestimate this aspect. But I really doubt IR(!) can find 50,000 men willing to fight for another country.

    Also I really doubt many Iranians are prepared to fight for this regime. In the 80’s many were young and excited by the promises of a country soon to be paradise.

    • There are people in Iran who think that Syria and Lebanon are not “another country” but part of the Persian Empire. (Which should include also Israel/Palestine and Iraq.)

      • The socalled Iranian propaganda against “imperialism” was always meant as a rallying cry against some European States or against the United States. But it was never meant as a fight against Imperialism per se. Teherans hardliner hizbollahis are seeing the iranian neo-imperialism as a question of survival. What ever will happen in syria – Iran will fight for a syrian dependence, same thing in Libanon, Iraq and Yemen.

        Furthermore not only Assad likes IS and Bagdadi very much. At night time you will find Bagdadi in the middle of Khameneis bed –
        flanked by Nasrallah on the left and the big leader himself on the right.

        Because fighting terrorists gives the excuse for Nasrallah invading Qualamoun and gives the excuse for Suleimani to solidify the iranian influence in Iraq with regular iranian troops.

      • Yes those people, a very small minority (Hezbollahi’s), do exist. However this group is also the most coward. If some of them do have the balls to go to Syria, we would encourage them. Getting rid of these people would be a great gift to the rest of Iranians.

        We, Iranians, don’t see any benefit from this ’empire’. A large country with vast oil,gas, minerals reserves, educated population of 70 million shouldn’t need such a ridiculous empire. Without half the corruption and theft there is now, this country should be able to create comfortable lives and safe borders for it’s people.

        Like I said before, this empire doesn’t serve Iranians. This empire serves the Islamic Republic and shia militias.

        I hope mr. Soleimani manages to find 50,000 Iranian traitors and moves all of them, along with him, to Iraq and Syria. It would be the first time he’d serve Iranians.

        • Ram that is an ingenous idea sent the mullocracy’s die hards to go fight and get killed in Syria and rid the world of them for good. Excellent can we put Khamenie on the front lines 50 steps ahead of the others and covered in glow-in the dark paint?

  8. I ran some numbers on this conflict back in 2013 and concluded that the only way for the regime to prevail was through a conventional intervention by Iran. (Russia would suffice as well, but that was never in the cards.)

    As the regime’s position deteriorates, it’s interesting to read all the speculation about an intervention at the 50,000 or greater level in order to preserve an Alawite-dominated enclave. In addition to the chatter mentioned above, Jeffrey White, the former DIA analyst and current staffer at the Washington Institute, whose opinion piece was featured here on EAWV, noted “Iran could potentially arrange for more personnel from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, and could commit more of its own personnel. Such steps could stabilize the regime’s military situation and, with still greater numbers, allow it to go on the offensive.”

    IMO, at this stage in the war, 50,000 would give the regime some respite, but would not be sufficient to reverse the tide or to guaranty the security of an Alawite mini-state. At this point, 100-150,000 would be needed. A force of this size could clear and hold large areas while the SAA is given time to recoup, recover and reorganize. It’s a huge intervention, but feasible for a major regional power with a population of nearly 80 million, particularly since it faces no major external threat which would require it to hold back large numbers of active duty ground forces. Iran has identified Syria as a vital national interest, so while I don’t predict that an intervention of this size and scope will happen, it certainly makes sense to consider the possibility.

      • you can fly in 300 people at a time in a bit larger plane, a few thousand at a time on a larger cargo ship.

        landing crafts arent really needed as they would be arriving to a friendly port/airport and not storming a beach

      • Funny! Of course, they could fly in over a period of weeks or several months. Optionally, a part of the force could traverse Iraqi territory. If an intervention ever did happen, it would be framed as an anti-IS operation (which would blunt objections by the coalition) So it’s advantageous going in via Iraq, re-establishing the international Iraq-Syria border, and providing immediate relief to the regime by engaging IS.

    • What numbers were these? I think you mentioned something like this before, but I don’t remember seeing any data.

      The Syrian government is still the largest and most powerful military entity in the conflict, I hope you realize that. But yeah, they do have critical shortages in a number of areas.

      • Proprietary modeling, so nothing I could post. Of course, the SAA is not yet beaten and still has some powerful assets, but it is past the point of being able to win given the current mix of forces. Absent another round of internecine warfare among the rebels, an Iranian direct intervention is the only thing that will reverse the tide, IMHO.

  9. Daily Media brief

    The financing of ISIS and other Islamist groups is directed from Turkey through Turkish banks.

    I am sure Erdogan’s police state knows that very well about this.

    “…multiple reports suggest that extremist financiers may be operating on Turkish soil, with the goal of bankrolling groups like JN [Jabat al Nusra] and IS [the Islamic State], among others,” said a report by the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance. “The financial facilitators hail primarily from Gulf countries, notably Qatar and Kuwait, and meet with radical groups in Turkey and support their efforts. One financial network of Kuwaiti donors was described by the Treasury Department in an October 2012 designation. The Treasury noted that funds were transferred to jihadists through intermediaries in Turkey.”

    We never hear reports that FSA is being financed. And that is one reason the secular rebels are always underfunded and underequipped while losing recruits to the Islamic rebels.

    Read more:

    • lol so now you dumb dumbs are attacking the next guy that doesnt share your Sharia vision.

      please continue, its fascinating.

      Kazemi were you one of RTs history students, the borderline comical style of writting is very similar

    • Your source doesn’t match your claim. In fact, that article isn’t even actually about Turkey financing terrorism. It’s about Turkey’s financial crisis derived from a variety of sources, including mismanagement by Erdogan administration. It doesn’t say anything about the Turkish government financing any armed group, secular or jihadist.

      • well doh, neither have I said the Turkish government is directing the financing or sourcing the funds. Let me repeat the obvious – that financing of the Islamic groups is managed from Turkey and happens through Turkish banks. The police state of Turkey and the Islamofascist Erdogan just turn a blind eye.

        • That’s not an accurate claim in any way either, but at least you didn’t post an irrelevant news link with your assertions this time.

  10. gunny: If this information is accurate, and I have my doubts, THIS is the beginning of quagmire from Iran. I hope you appreciate the difference.

  11. Let them! A wrecked economy and wasting more money on the military eventually collapsed the Soviet Union. So the West will just sit back and laugh up their sleeves as they watch two thorns in their side kill each other off. Their flanks ultimately so weakened and exposed, that Imperialism will eventually just sweep in and mop up!

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