Daily Management Review

Aided by Russian Air Force, Assad allies, Including Iranians, Prepare Ground Attack in Syria: Sources


10/01/2015




Aided by Russian Air Force, Assad allies, Including Iranians, Prepare Ground Attack in Syria: Sources
Aided by Russian air power, Iran, Syria and Lebanese Hezbollah allies are preparing for a major ground offensive to gain back lost ground, says sources.
 
News agency Reuters reports that hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days. they are expected  to join the Syrian government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies, said two Lebanese sources.
 
"The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies," said one of the sources familiar with political and military developments in the conflict.
 
"It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside," the source added.
 
The operation would be aimed at recapturing territory lost by President Bashar al-Assad's government to rebels, the sources said.  
 
Recapturing areas of North Western Syria that were seized by insurgents in rapid advances earlier this year seems to be the primary aim of the latest ground offensive even as the step indicates a growing alliance between Russia, Syrian government and Assad's other main allies - Iran and Hezbollah.
 
"The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors ... we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more," the second source said.
 
Iraqis would also take part in the operation, the source said.
 
Till now during the Syrian crisis, Iran has primarily supported Assad by providing military advisories and that had been maximum military assistance that Iran had given to the Syrian president.
 
To fight alongside Syrian government forces, Iran has also mobilized Shi'ite militia fighters, including Iraqis and some Afghans, sources said.
 
Since the early days of the conflict, Lebanon's Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, has been fighting alongside the Syrian army.
 
On Wednesday, targeting areas near the cities of Homs and Hama in the west of Syria, where Assad's forces are fighting an array of insurgent groups, Russia had conducted air strikes. However this airstrike did not target the ISIS bases as most of the areas under the ISIS control is based mostly in the north and east part of the country.

The government had been completely expelled away from the areas bordering Turkey earlier this year by an alliance of insurgent groups including the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front and powerful Ahrar al-Sham had made rapid gains in Idlib province.

(Source:www.nytimes.com)






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