Iran reduces troops in Syria: Who's taking their place?

Iranian sources speaking to Reuters have claimed that the Revolutionary Guards are reducing the deployment of their senior officers in Syria due to Israeli attacks and will reportedly leave their positions to Shiite militias they support to maintain their dominance in the region.

Publication: 02.02.2024 - 15:34
Iran reduces troops in Syria: Who's taking their place?
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According to the Iranian sources who spoke to Reuters, Iran's decision to withdraw senior officers from Syria is partly due to avoiding involvement in a potential regional conflict.

The sources also noted that some radical figures in Tehran demanded retaliation against Israel, but the Tehran administration has no intention of completely abandoning Syria, which is an essential part of Iran's sphere of influence.

A senior Iranian security official stated that dozens of senior Iranian commanders, along with many mid-ranking officers, have left Syria, describing this as a "restriction of military presence."

"Operations Will Continue Remotely"

Three sources stated that the recent changes have had no impact on operations, and reducing the military presence will help Tehran avoid getting dragged into an Israel-Gaza war.

Sources stated that the changes so far have had no impact on operations and expressed concerns about information leaks from Syrian security forces playing a role in recent attacks, saying that the reduction of military presence would help Tehran avoid getting involved in the Israel-Gaza war.

Another source close to Iran stated that those currently in Syria have left their offices and are keeping a low profile, saying, "Iranians will not leave Syria, but they have significantly reduced their presence."

"Gathering Shiite Fighters"

Another source familiar with Iran's operations in Syria said that Israeli attacks prompted the Revolutionary Guards to make a "change of plans."

Sources mentioned the gathering of Shiite fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan to be stationed in Syria, stating that the Revolutionary Guards would benefit more from Syrian Shiite militias.

Iran's Military Presence in Syria

Iran's military presence in Syria has been a significant issue since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011. Iran has provided both military advisory and direct military support to the Syrian government. This support has involved active participation in military operations in Syria by groups such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, Iran-backed militia groups, and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

The purpose of Iran's military presence in Syria has been to ensure the survival of its strategic ally, the Syrian government, limit the influence of Israel and the United States in the region, and strengthen its Shiite militia network to extend its sphere of influence. Iran has also aimed to create a land bridge to the Mediterranean through Syria, facilitating arms shipments to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Iran's military presence in Syria encompasses a range of activities, including ground forces, training and advisory services, intelligence support, and logistical assistance. Iran has also established various military bases and facilities in Syria, using some of them to coordinate operations with the Syrian government.

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