With the implosion of the Assad regime in full swing, the countdown to the fall of Damascus is on, and Iran is moving quickly to fill the vacuum. Now Riad Hijab — the former Prime Minister of Syria who defected from his senior position in Damascus last August — says that Iran’s military and intelligence forces are “actively running” the nation of Syria.
“Syria is occupied by the Iranian regime,” Hijab told an Arabic media outlet. “Who runs the country isn’t Bashar Assad but Kassem Suleimani, the head of Iran’s al-Quds Brigades [within the Revolutionary Guards].”
Evidence is mounting that Iran and Hezbollah, its Radical Shia terrorist organization, are moving military forces into the country so that if and when the Assad regime finally falls, Iran can fully and quickly seize and consolidate full control. Back in August, when I reported on this blog that Hijab had defected, I also quoted a press repors indicating that “Iran is sending thousands of fighters to help the Bashar Assad regime in it’s ongoing conflict with rebel forces, according to a Syrian opposition leader. Col. Abdul-Jabbar Mohammed Aqidi, the commander of rebel forces in Aleppo province, was quoted in Al Arabiya on Saturday saying that 3,000 Iranians had already passed through Damascus International Airport in the last week.”
“Hijab’s comments come less than a week after a Washington Post article claimed Iran and Hezbollah were ‘building a network of militias‘ in Syria to protect their interests when Assad falls,” notes a story today in the Times of Israel. “The militias are fighting alongside the regime, sources told the newspaper, but also preparing for a day-after scenario in which Assad is gone. A senior Obama administration official put the number of Iranian mercenaries in Syria at 50,000. Also on Friday, activists said some 150 rebels and government troops have been killed in fierce fighting for control of the international airport in the northern city of Aleppo and a major military air base nearby.”
Meanwhile, “After nearly two years of fighting, the death toll in Syria has reached some 90,000 people, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday,” according to AP and the Times of Israel.
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