Iran Proxies and Partners Heavily Involved in Assad Offensive in Southern Syria

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Hanin Ghaddar and Phillip Smyth - Iran has been redeploying its Shia militia proxies to south Syria since April. Many of these fighters are simply merging with Assad regime forces. Hizbullah units have integrated with the army's 4th Division and Republican Guard, while fighters from militias such as Liwa al-Fatemiyoun have been spotted within the Tiger Forces under the leadership of Syrian general Suhail al-Hassan, even adopting their uniforms and insignia. Iran's proxies and partners are heavily involved in the latest Deraa offensive. They are also deploying around the Deir al-Adas area of Quneitra, 15 km. from the Golan Heights. Can Russia guarantee the departure of Iranian forces and proxies from the south? And can Assad's forces stop Iranian proxies from infiltrating and controlling the border? Iranian forces have withdrawn and redeployed many times in many places in Syria, and any move they make to appease Russia would no doubt be temporary. The return of Assad's forces to the south would serve as a conduit for Hizbullah and other militias to quietly redeploy there anytime they like. The writers are fellows of the Washington Institute.

2018-07-02 00:00:00

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