From Haaretz :
A top Iranian military official is actively aiding the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in suppressing popular unrest throughout the country, a top member of the National Syrian Council said on Monday.
According to the Syrian official, Kassam Salimani, commander of the Quds Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard special forces unit, has arrived in Syria recently and has taken up a spot in the war room which manages army maneuvers against opposition forces.
The war room is also reportedly populated by Assad himself, as well as his brother Maher, brother-in-law Assaf Shaukat and cousin Rami Makhlouf, with the Syrian chief of staff’s authority reportedly restricted and divided up between other military commanders.
The Quds Force includes 15,000 elite soldiers who operated, among other locations, in Iraq during the war, and the specialty of which is engaging in unconventional warfare on foreign soil. Among other duties, the Quds Force is in charge of traning and funding Hezbollah.
Salimani’s presence in Syria serves as an indication of the kind of battle that Assad is planning against opposition forces, with the Syrian army reportedly planning to wage all out war against the rebel city of Homs.
According to the report, the Syrian president’s goal is to gain ground ahead of a planned visit by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who will be arriving in the country along with a military delegation which includes the head of Russian intelligence.
Assad’s aim, sources say, is to display his control of the situation and his ability to suppress the unrest, with the determining battles to be staged in Homs and in the reoccupation of the town of Zabadani, which fell to Free Syria Army forces.
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