TEL AVIV — The Syrian army is accelerating its efforts to regain control of the border area between Syria and Iraq with the help of Iranian forces and elite Hezbollah units, an Arab intelligence source has told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The source said that even as the international coalition expects to liberate Raqqa with the help of Kurdish forces, the Syrian army and Iranian and Hezbollah fighters are taking action to liberate the area from IS control. According to the source, “Iran’s main fear is that the international coalition’s capture of Raqqa led by the U.S. will disrupt Iran’s strategic plans to complete the connection between Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus, which would secure the flow of arms from Iran to Syria and from there to Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
Over the past few weeks, according to the source, the Iranians, disregarding agreements with Russia, are stepping up their efforts on the Iraqi side of the border, using Shi’ite militas to lead the offensive against IS in Mosul and the border region with Syria.
“The Iranians want to make sure that their followers are directly involved in carrying out the plan,” the source said. “As far as the Iranians are concerned, this plan is an entire outlook on the war in Syria and even the reason for the outbreak of the war — that is, the attempt of Iran’s enemies in the Arab world and internationally, the Iranians believe, to detach Syria from the Iranian axis politically by severing the territorial contiguity between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in order to harm Iranian interests by harming Iran’s allies.”
The source noted that two offensives are taking place in the region at the same time: “A campaign initiated by the international coalition led by the U.S. and supported by Kurdish forces in the field, and a campaign led by the Iranians to take control of the border area and ensure territorial contiguity.”
According to the source, “The Russians’ position isn’t clear. On the one hand, they aren’t supporting the move, but on the other hand they aren’t doing anything to prevent it, even if it may lead to clashes between the international coalition led by the U.S. and the Iranian-Syrian forces and Hezbollah.”
In Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Afghanistan, said the source, the recruitment of volunteers and fighters for the battle to liberate Raqqa and the border area has accelerated.
Hundreds of fighters are arriving almost every day to military camps, especially in Iraq and also in Syria, in order to take part in this military offensive. American-Iranian proxy violence in this area is not another imaginary scenario because we’re witnessing that the Americans are accelerating the arming of Kurdish forces so that they will be the first to capture Raqqa and the border area with coalition air cover. In all issues concerning the Iranians, the key is in the hand of the Russians, but also the coalition air force has in its hand the option of stopping the advancing Iranian-Syrian forces.
But at the moment, despite the commitment to stop an Iranian takeover, it’s not clear if this commitment will translate into a war of American/Western forces against Iranian forces. What can be said: At the level of coordination between coalition members, there is a clear intention to repel Iran and its efforts.