The offensive, which began Friday, is conducted by the forces of Bashar Assad supported by groups affiliated to Tehran and supported by Russian planes. This is the first time that the Iranians are involved at this scale in the conflict.
“The promised battle” began in the southeast of Aleppo, a Syrian military source said highly placed . This offensive by an alliance fighters of the Syrian power, Iranians and Hezbollah began on Friday in the south of the city, with the support of Russian air strikes. Thus, up to 2,000 Iranians, or forces backed by Iran, are involved in this battle against rebel groups, said a US official. They are far less numerous than the military forces of Bashar Assad but this is the first time that the Iranians are involved at this scale in the war in Syria.
Prennnent Combatants who participated in the battle of Aleppo may belong to Iranian forces such as the Revolutionary Guards, groups funded by Tehran as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi fighters or groups, said the US official. For its part, Iran confirms sending arms and military advisers to support its ally Assad, but denied having provided ground troops, the newspaper reported Haaretz . However, Iranian media reported last week, deaths in Syria of three officers of the Revolutionary Guards of Iran.
The military offensive was thoroughly prepared. According to a US official, Russian forces are helping the regime of Syrian President to conduct both offensive aimed at “taking pincer” rebel groups in the central provinces of Homs and Hama. Meanwhile, the Iranians and their affiliated groups help the Syrian forces to open a new front near Aleppo, has he said. “Our forces are (now) more determined to restore security and stability of our country,” said the army of Syrian government says Haaretz . As for Hezbollah, which has supported Assad in several battles during the civil war, he said that the army is conducting a “major military operation” with the support of Russian and Syrian aircraft on a front of at least 10 miles (15 km) wide in southwestern southeast of Aleppo.
The capture of this city is very strategic. Aleppo, a commercial and industrial center near the border with Turkey, is the most populous city in Syria with still nearly 2 million people. The government army are faced rebel groups, some of whom are linked to al Qaeda, the Al-Nusra Front, or organization Islamic state (EI). In two years of fighting, neither side has won military victories.
“A lot of things going on right now originate in the trip to Moscow, this summer, the Iranian general Souleimani” , which helped prepare the concerted offensive currently underway, the source said. The American and Russian press had reported in August, the Moscow visit of General Souleimani, the head of the Quds Force, in charge of external operations Revolutionary Guards. US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his “concern” but Moscow has denied.
Russian forces lead from September 30 aerial bombardments in Syria. Moscow says the Islamic state target group but Washington accuses Russia of wanting to especially support the Syrian offensive against rebels opposed to Assad.
Since the beginning of the civil war in 2011, between 230,000 and 320,000 people have died and 4 million have left the country.