Iran and Hizbullah Support for Syria Complicates Peace-Talk Strategy

(New York Times) Michael R. Gordon and Steven Lee Myers - Secretary of State John Kerry has pushed for an international conference in Geneva in June that would bring representatives of the Syria government together with the opposition. But the stepped-up support Syrian President Assad has received from Iran and Hizbullah in recent months appears to have fortified his belief that he can hang on to power and prevail militarily - or at least control a strategically significant swath of the country. According to American intelligence reports, there are some 200 Iranian paramilitary Quds Force personnel in Syria. Qassim Suleimani, the Quds Force commander, recently ordered Iranian artillery and armor officials to help Assad's regime, American officials say. Suleimani has also requested that several hundred fighters from Asaib al-Haq and Kataib Hizbullah, two Iraqi Shiite militias that have been trained by the Iranians, join the war effort in Syria.

2013-05-22 00:00:00

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