Iran "Foreign Legion" Leads Battle in Syria's North

(Wall Street Journal) Sam Dagher - As part of Iran's de facto foreign legion, Hizbullah, along with Iran's Revolutionary Guards and thousands of Iran-funded and trained Shiite fighters from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere, are leading the current ground assault in the Syrian city of Aleppo. Iran's projection of power in northern Syria is the strongest signal that it intends, both directly and via its Shiite proxies, to bolster its reach and influence throughout the region. Phillip Smyth, an expert on Shiite groups in Syria at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said the core of the Iran-led forces in Syria include several thousand Iranian fighters, up to 8,000 from Hizbullah, an estimated 6,000 Iraqis and about 3,500 Afghans. These foreign forces have largely been on the front lines of battles in Aleppo in terms of storming and capturing areas held by rebels, while reconstituted units of the Syrian army as well as local Syrian militias trained by Hizbullah and Iran have played a critical support role.

2016-02-17 00:00:00

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