Iran waging ‘ethnic cleansing campaign’ in Syria
Iranian militants have begun acting as Russia’s de facto “ground force” in Syria, where they have begun waging “an ethnic cleansing campaign” in order to eradicate opposition to the embattled President Bashar al-Assad, according to leading members of Congress, defense officials, and outside experts.
A Pentagon official who was not authorized to speak on the record confirmed to the Washington Free Beacon that the United States “continue[s] to see Iranian-sponsored forces providing support to the Syrian regime in their fight against Syrian opposition forces.”
It is now believed that Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps forces are acting as Russia’s “ground force” in Syria, helping Moscow to clear out primarily secular opposition forces battling to depose Assad, according to lawmakers and regional experts.
“If we look at the combat fatalities of the revolutionary guards in Syria, we see that the place of death is usually the places that have been bombed by the Russian air force,” Ali Alfoneh, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“So the revolutionary guard is in practice acting as the infantry force, the ground force, of Russia,” Alfoneh said. “We also know from U.S. government sources that Russia is not bombing the Islamic State. Russia is bombing the secular opposition to Bashar al-Assad’s regime.”
Once Russian forces finish their bombing campaigns in opposition strongholds, there is “an influx of revolutionary guards members going into those areas,” Alfoneh said.
Additionally, the U.S. government has determined that Iranian forces are waging “ethnic cleansing” campaigns in areas of Damascus in order to eradicate Sunni Muslim families and replace them with Shia-aligned Hezbollah militants.
“I’ve been briefed on the fact that they’re [Iran is] even bringing in militias from Hezbollah and their families into Sunni dominated neighborhoods in Damascus and running their Sunni population out as they basically do an ethnic cleansing campaign,” Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), the committee’s chairman, disclosed during the hearing.
IRGC-“linked companies and businesses have already started the process of hiding their links in anticipation of trying to get into business deals with European companies and Asian companies, and others who will be reentering Iran” as sanctions are lifted, Modell said.
“There is a process underway among IRGC individuals and entities that are sanctioned to ensconce themselves in companies that are clean and business deals that are clean,” he added. “That means erasing old contracts, erasing records and business registries, and other things. It’s a very dangerous proposition for any company going back into Iran not knowing exactly who they’ll be dealing with.”
Full article: Iran Serving As Russia’s ‘Ground Force’ In Syria (Washington Free Beacon)