Alleged meeting suggests increased efforts by Russia and Iran to coordinate support for Bashar Assad’s government, as Moscow sends military advisers to Syria and builds temporary housing.
Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force, has visited Moscow for the second time, Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported on Tuesday.
According to the newspaper, the alleged meeting occurred last week.
The newspaper did not specify whom Soleimani met in Moscow. Soleimani is believed to coordinate the Iranian campaign against ISIS and other groups in Iraq and Syria. He is subject to a UN travel ban.
This report follows a senior Israeli security source’s claim that Soleimani recently sent hundreds of Iranian soldiers to fight rebels in Syria. According to this source, Iranian forces are fighting alongside Hezbollah for the city of Zabadani in southwest Syria, not far from the Lebanese border.
The only Iranian forces known to be active in Syria until now were the Basij, a paramilitary group. Regarding reinforcement of Iranian troops, the Israeli source said that “this is being done in light of Assad’s desperation and with Iranian-Russian coordination, following Soleimani’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.”
Following Soleimani’s alleged earlier visit to Moscow, a Iranian source reported that the commander had arrived in Russia to discuss transfer of advanced S-300 missiles to the Islamic Republic.
Full article: Report: Iranian commander makes second Moscow visit (ynet)