Iran’s role in Syrian Civil War discussed at panel meeting in U.S.
The US Representative Office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI-US) organized a panel discussion on the involvement of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC, or the Iranian military) in the war in Syria.
Iran has played a decisive role in Syria throughout the civil war. Every year, Iran funnels billions of dollars into supporting Syrian President Assad’s government forces.
The panel coincides with the roll-out of a book organized by the NCRI-US, How Iran Fuels the Syrian War, which contains new details about the extent of Iran’s involvement in Syria. It contains satellite imagery of 18 operational and logistical headquarters in Syria, as well as detailed numbers and information about Iran’s use of troops in Syria.
The book also claims that Iran’s funding of Bashar Al-Assad’s government forces may be as high as $100 billion in total, and that the 16,000 Iranian troops believed to be in Syria may control a Shia militia of up to 45,000.
This is not the first time the NCRI has disclosed previously unknown information about Iran; it also revealed the existence of clandestine nuclear sites in Iran in 2008.
The panel will take place on Thursday, September 1, in Washington, D.C.
Among the panelists are:
- Dr. Kenneth Katzman, Specialist in Middle Eastern Affairs, Congressional Research Service
- Ambassador Adam Ereli, former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain, and former State Department Spokesman
- Mr. Lawrence J. Haas, Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the American Foreign Policy Council
- Alireza Jafarzadeh, NCRIUS deputy director
Iran’s strategy in Syria
Iran’s role supporting Assad’s forces has contributed to a protracted civil war in Syria since 2011. Both Bashar al-Assad’s government and the rebel forces are recipients of foreign aid in what some have called a form of “cold war”. Iran and Russia are two major backers of Bashar al-Assad, while Turkey and, to some extent, the United States fund rebel groups.
Iran is primarily invested in protecting Assad as one of its regional Shi’a allies. Syria and Iran had previously enjoyed strong relations before the outbreak of the war.
Iran does not release official statistics on the extent of its involvement in the Syrian Civil War to avoid drawing international shock and alarm.
Image from Reuters.