Hundreds of Iranian troops have reportedly crossed into Syria ahead of a ground operation supporting Bashar al-Assad against his enemies.
Sources in Lebanon claim that the soldiers arrived 10 days ago and will be supporting government forces, alongside fighters from the Shia Islamist group Hezbollah, against rebels in northern Syria.
An anonymous official told Reuters the operation was being mounted in conjunction with Russian air strikes and aimed to recapture territory lost by the Syrian regime.
“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advance by the Syrian army and its allies,” one of the sources said. “It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside.”
Iran is believed to already have troops backing government forces in Iraq, where Shia militias believed to be funded by the Iranian government are also fighting Isis.
The Kremlin had already announced the creation of an operations centre in Baghdad where its forces will work with the Iranians and intelligence operatives from Iraq and the Syrian regime.
Full article: Iranian troops and Hezbollah ‘massing in Syria for ground battle against rebels’ (The Independent)