Fall of Aleppo Puts Iran on Cusp of ‘Shi’ite Crescent’ of Influence

An Iranian female student holds up her hand painted in the colours of her national flag during a rally in Tehran's Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 35th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2014. The 35th anniversary of the revolution that ousted the US-backed shah, comes …
ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty

(REUTERS) – Iran has played a pivotal role in Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s campaign to crush rebel resistance in Aleppo and is now close to establishing a “Shi’ite crescent” of regional influence stretching from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean Sea.

Revolutionary Guards commanders and senior clerics in Tehran have this week praised Iran’s defeat of “Wahhabi terrorists” in Syria and the country they characterize as the rebels’ patron, Sunni Muslim regional rival Saudi Arabia.

There is little doubt the capture of Aleppo after years of fighting, and at the cost of thousands of lives, will make Assad unassailable to the rebels who have sought to end his rule. It is unlikely such a victory would have been possible without Iran’s steadfast supply of Shi’ite fighters, money and weapons.

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