What's new

For Iran and Hezbollah, a costly week in Syria

BLACKEAGLE

ELITE MEMBER
May 9, 2007
10,917
2
18,642
Country
Jordan
Location
Jordan
For Iran and Hezbollah, a costly week in Syria
BEIRUT | By Tom Perry and Babak Dehghanpisheh


A woman walks past damaged buildings in the rebel-controlled area of Maaret al-Numan town in Idlib province, Syria, May 13, 2016.
Reuters/Khalil Ashawi


A rebel onslaught on the town of Khan Touman near Aleppo last week delivered one of the biggest battlefield setbacks yet to the coalition of foreign Shi'ite fighters waging war on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.

Reports put the death toll among the Iranian, Afghani and Lebanese militiamen as high as 80 in the attack spearheaded by the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front. At least 17 of the dead were Iranians, seemingly the highest toll in a battle outside the Islamic Republic’s borders since the Iran-Iraq war.

"Pray for us, we can’t move. There are 83 of us in one room. We’re waiting for artillery backup so we can pull back," an Iranian fighter wrote in a WhatsApp message, quoted by state-run Iranian website Jaam-e-Jam. “God willing, we are martyred rather than taken prisoner.”

Events in Khan Touman were followed by an even bigger blow to Iran and its allies: news emerged early Friday of the killing of Hezbollah commander Mustafa Badreddine, who had been overseeing the Lebanese group's military operations in Syria.

It is unclear how such reversals will affect the course of a war that grew out of Arab spring-inspired protests in 2011 calling for democratic change. Before Iran, Hezbollah and Russia came to Assad’s aid, his grip on power appeared to be failing. The commitment of these allies to support him is seen by diplomats and Middle East experts as key to Assad's survival.

Such blows are evidence of the price being paid by Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, and the wide range of adversaries they face in a multi-sided war that has escalated again in recent weeks as U.N.-led diplomacy has foundered.

Israel has not missed the chance to pick off top Iranian and Hezbollah commanders in Syria over the past year or more.

Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group established by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, said Badreddine had been killed in an explosion near Damascus airport. One Hezbollah official blamed Israel. The Israeli government has not commented.

Other enemies in the predominantly Sunni insurgency are meanwhile celebrating what they see as Iran's defeat in Khan Touman, which followed the loss of the nearby town of al-Eis.

One security expert close to Damascus described low morale on the government side because hard-won territory had been lost.

One explanation of the reversal could be that there is less Russian air support. Russia has been mounting air strikes in support of Assad for seven months, but it has also been involved in U.S.-backed diplomatic efforts and supported ceasefires.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a rebel fighting in the area said the intensity of recent Russian air strikes had diminished. That could be a source of friction between the alliance supporting Assad, analysts of the conflict say.

SHOCK IN IRAN

The attack by Nusra and its allies on Khan Touman created shockwaves in Iran. Sites linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps published the names and photos of 13 Iranians killed in Khan Touman. Most of them were from a unit of the Guard in Mazandaran province in northern Iran.

But there were concerns among some Iranian officials and military leaders that the report of heavy casualties could sway public opinion against Iran’s involvement in Syria.

A press release from the Revolutionary Guard office in Mazandaran, the province where most of the Iranians killed were based, reflected these concerns.

In order to “preserve calm in society” only information released by their office should be trusted, it said.

Among the Iranians killed was Shafie Shafiee, a commander of the elite Quds force, according to the Tasnim news site, which is affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards. His body was seized by Syrian rebels, according to the another site, ABNA.

Pictures posted by rebels and reprinted by Iranian news sites show closeups of individual fighters killed in the battle. One photo shows what appears to be at least a dozen bloodied corpses lined up in the hallway of a building.

Another set of photos posted by the Syrian opposition show two prisoners of indeterminate nationality, bound and bloodied, being led behind a vehicle.

Mohammad Saleh Jokar, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy committee, said there were not any precise numbers on how many Iranians had been killed or taken prisoner in the Khan Touman "disaster".

Parliament speaker Ali Larijani called it a crime carried out by "cowardly terrorists" during a ceasefire - an apparent reference to a cessation of hostilities agreement to which the Nusra Front and other jihadist groups are not a party.

"This incident will not go unanswered," Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council said in an interview with the Young Journalists Club news site this week.

Footage shot from a drone by rebels shows a complex assault on Khan Touman that began with a barrage of rockets or mortars and involved armored vehicles and a tank. A mushroom cloud, apparently caused by a car bomb, is seen erupting near a building.

HEZBOLLAH VOWS TO FIGHT ON

Iran has announced the death of half a dozen generals in Syria, and a much larger number of less senior officers since 2012.

Hezbollah has meanwhile lost four prominent fighters, including Badreddine, a brother-in-law of the group's late military commander Imad Moughniyah.

Badreddine was the most senior Hezbollah figure to be killed since Moughniyah was assassinated in 2008, also in Damascus.

Hezbollah is estimated to have lost a total of around 1,200 fighters in Syria, where its highly trained guerrillas have provided crucial support to the Syrian military.

The group depicts its war in Syria as an existential struggle against ultra-radical jihadists such as the Nusra Front and Islamic State, groups it refers to as "takfiris".

Speaking at Badreddine's funeral in Beirut's southern suburbs on Friday, deputy Hezbollah leader Naim Qassem said: "Oh martyr we are continuing in the path you chose, in confronting Israel and in confronting the takfiris".

(Additional reporting by Laila Bassam; Editing by Samia Nakhoul and Janet McBride)
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-insight-idUSKCN0Y42FZ
 

haviZsultan

ELITE MEMBER
Jul 30, 2007
9,045
36
10,894
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Arab Emirates
Muslims are in a mess because they keep fighting each other. Both Iran and Arab world should grow up and stop killing each other.
 

raptor22

SENIOR MEMBER
Dec 8, 2011
6,535
9
12,223
Country
Iran, Islamic Republic Of
Location
Iran, Islamic Republic Of
Muslims are in a mess because they keep fighting each other. Both Iran and Arab world should grow up and stop killing each other.
Since the first day Iran called out for a fair and free election, an election that all Syrian people and parties participate in order to form their own future through ballot boxes not bullet .... but no one has listened so thus instate they've chosen to add fuel to the flame of the sectarian war and conflict in region by arming and funding terrorists ...
 

haviZsultan

ELITE MEMBER
Jul 30, 2007
9,045
36
10,894
Country
Pakistan
Location
United Arab Emirates
Since the first day Iran called out for a fair and free election, an election that all Syrian people and parties participate in order to form their own future through ballot boxes not bullet .... but no one has listened so thus instate they've chosen to add fuel to the flame of the sectarian war and conflict in region by arming and funding terrorists ...
I think dictators are a real problem in the muslim world. Assad needs to go. He has killed enough people.
 

raptor22

SENIOR MEMBER
Dec 8, 2011
6,535
9
12,223
Country
Iran, Islamic Republic Of
Location
Iran, Islamic Republic Of
I think dictators are a real problem in the muslim world. Assad needs to go. He has killed enough people.
No one on this planet except Syrian people have right to talk about the future of Syria .the root of the ongoing conflict in this country is the idea that the other have right to impose their own idea and agenda on Syrians , someone who are not Syrian wanna make decision on behalf of Syrians ... not Iranians not Americans not Saudis or Turkish nor other nations could dictate the other nation what they should do ....
If you consider Assad as a dictator and believe Syrians despise him so much then he's got chance as a snowball in hell to win a probable free and fair election ... but why the other side refuse such a plan which has been on the table from the first day? it could have already ended the bloodshed in Syria ... 'cause their agenda was removal of Assad not helping Syrian people .... how the hell all these Takfiries have come into the Syria who fund them who buy their oil who arm them ? why no one fight them seriously ?
 

T-Rex

ELITE MEMBER
Apr 7, 2008
10,011
-11
7,455
Country
Bangladesh
Location
Bangladesh
Since the first day Iran called out for a fair and free election, an election that all Syrian people and parties participate in order to form their own future through ballot boxes not bullet .... but no one has listened so thus instate they've chosen to add fuel to the flame of the sectarian war and conflict in region by arming and funding terrorists ...

Free and fair election is not possible in Syria as long as assad is in charge of the government. It's not rocket science to understand why.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)


Top Bottom