The defense of the Syrian capital, Damascus, has become a priority task for thousands of fighters from Iran and Iraq.
According to the anonymous source, about 7,000 fighters have already arrived in Syria. The source points out that the larger number of them have come from Iraq.
The plan is to gather about 10,000 men who will help Syrian army and pro-government militias with their actions in Damascus. After that, the goal is to retake the city of Jisr al-Shughur, which is key to the Mediterranean coast and the Hama region.
Jisr al-Shughur was under the control of Syria’s government until April 25th, when it was taken by opposition forces.
As the Iran’s news agency IRNA reported, Revolutionary Guards General Qassem Soleimani announced that they and Syrian military leaders are preparing a big and surprising move. However, the agency distances itself from the responsibility for this information.
Syria has had a considerable financial and military help from Iran since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. Despite the support of its key ally, the Syrian government has lost the control over several parts of the country, which were taken by rebel groups, such as Al-Nusra, and the Islamic State. This is why the help of Iran and Russia was needed as well.
According to a diplomatic source in Damascus, when the Syrian army failed to cut rebel supply lines to the northern city of Aleppo, Iran criticized the Syrian regime, saying that they were unprepared, and strongly advising Syria to change its approach to the problem. Iran suggested Syria to concentrate on holding less territory more securely.
As analysts and observers noticed, the division of the country is inevitable in the eyes of the Syrian government, which is why the government now wants to make sure that strategically important areas stay in its hands.
The coast, the central cities of Hama and Homs, and the capital Damascus are considered to be strategically the most important areas. The Damascus-Beirut and Damascus-Homs highways are of the same importance.
So far, over 220,000 people have died in conflict in Syria.