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Iran and Russia indagate their cooperation over the Middle East regional stability and security as a strategic goal. The countries have been conducting mutual consultations over the topic since 2011. Both Iran and Russia support the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because beleive that he can prevent the country’s dissolution.
Since the start of the Syrian war, Iran has been directly involved in it. It provides financial, media and humanitarian support to the Assad government, supplies arms and equipment. It’s widely known that special teams of the Iranian Armys Revolutionary Guard Command (IRGC) have been fighting against terrorists in Syria.
On October 10, Iranian Armys Revolutionary Guard Command Brigadier General Hossein Hamadani was killed along the Khanasser Highway in Southern Aleppo. Hamadani was reportedly responsible for recruiting and organizing for the governments offensive to lift the ISIS siege of the Kuweires Military Airport. Another Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) commander, colonel Farshad Hasounizadeh, providing military counseling services to the Syrian governments forces was killed in Syria on October 13. Iranian media stated that Farshad Hasounizadeh was a former collonel of IRGC, but we really doubt that somebody could be a former member of IRGC.
According to the SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence’s information, over 3000 servicemen of IRGC are taking part in the Syrian offensive in the Hama-Homs axis. Also, at least 1500-strong grouping of Hezbollah is there. These forces include modern artillery and military rocket launcher systems. Moreover, an Iranian air base has been~set in the area around the city of Hama. It has been working as an air lift transporting troops and military equipment. In future, the air base could be used by the Iranian Air Forces to conduct air strikes against terrorists in Syria.
Last Tuesday fighters of the Lebanese Hezbollah arrived in Aleppo to join the Syrian army to take part in a full-scale military operation there. The pro-government forces will start offensive there in the coming days. The Russian Air force will provide air support for the operation. We remember, Hezbollah has a longs-tanding relations with Iran, recieves funding and support from it.
Teheran denies the fact of direct military involvement, but it confirms that IRGC members fulfil at least the role of military advicers in the Syrian forces.
As Russia, Iran has advanced many initiatives to solve the Syrian conflict by the joint political decision of the main participants of the conflict including Bashar al-Assad. The main goals of them are to start joint operation against ISIS and to maintain the Syrian territorial integrity. The US, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other members of the US-led coalition stand against this. Indeed, Russian and Iranian appraoches are very similar.
The very same time, Iranian elites don’t have a joint attitude over the Russian role in the Syrian crisis. Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani is ctiricizing the Russian military actions as the US-led coalition’s approach. He believes there is only political decision over the conflict. IRGC-linked media are actively opposing his attitude. In general, Iran supports the Russian activity in the region, but it’s ready to protect own interests in case if they will be negatively impacted by Russia.
At the moment Iran’s assistance has a character of the diplomatic assistance and consultancy support. There are no confirmed reports that mechanisms for military collaboration between Russia and Iran at the Syrian battlespace are agreed.