Hundreds of Iranian Soldiers in Syria for
Major Ground Offensive: Report
The soldiers will reportedly join Syrian government forces for
ground fight while Russian warplanes attack from air
By MEE Staff
October 01, 2015 "Information
As Russia has started airtrikes in Syria,
hundreds of Iranian soldiers preparing to join government forces
in a major ground offensive have reportedly arrived in the
country in the past 10 days, sources told Reuters on Thursday.
The ground offensive, according to the two
Lebanese sources who talked to Reuters, will work in concert
with the Russian bombardment and may be focused in the Idlib and
"They are not advisors ... we mean hundreds
with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more," a
second source told Reuters.
Iraqis will also take part in the joint
operation, the source said.
News of the arrival of the Iranian soldiers
comes a day after Russian warplanes began to strike Syria
alongside government warplanes, drawing criticism from the US,
Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
While Russia has explained its escalation of
military aid to Syria in recent weeks as part of a strategy to
battle the Islamic State (IS) militant group, rebel fighters, US
officials and eyewitnesses told reporters on Wednesday that
Russian strikes hit areas controlled by Syrian opposition
fighters including al-Nusra Front.
On Thursday, the commander of the Liwa Suqour
al-Jabal rebel group that has received CIA training
reportedly said that one of the group's training camps in
the Idlib province was hit by 20 missiles in continued Russian
commander's comments, US Sen. John McCain, who chairs the Senate
Armed Services Committee, told CNN that he had confirmed that
Russian airstrikes were aimed at the CIA-backed fighters, not
"Their initial strikes were against the
individuals and the groups that have been funded and trained by
our CIA, in a credible flaunting of any kind of cooperation or
effort to conceal what Putin's priority is - and that is, of
course, to prop up (Syrian President) Bashar Assad," McCain
The Free Syrian Army also said that one of its
commanders, Iyad al-Deek, was killed on Wednesday by a Russian
bomb dropped in Homs.
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied
reports that Russian jets had hit civilians and fighters who
were not members of the Islamic State militant group.
"Talk began that civilians were hurt by
airstrikes. We have no such data," Lavrov said. "We carefully
make sure that these target strikes are precise."
Also on Thursday, Russian officials told the
RIA Novosti state news agency that they would consider expanding
their new military campaign into Iraq if Baghdad requested its