On November 26, Iranian-backed Liwa Fatemiyoun announced that its units had held a joint military exercise in Syria’s central region where ISIS maintains a fairly large presence.
The Afghan group’s special forces, engineer units and armored forces took part in the exercise, which was meant to improve coordination during military operations. The group said that its forces completed the exercise successfully without sustaining any losses.
Photos from the exercise show Fatemiyoun fighters operating a T-72 battle tank and a BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, which were likely provided by the Syrian Arab Army.
Between 10,000 and 20,000 Afghan fighters are reportedly in service with Liwa Fatemiyoun, which operates in Aleppo, Homs and Deir Ezzor.
The Afghan group, which is funded, trained, and equipped by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, played a key role in the battles against ISIS in central Syria during 2016 and 2017. In 2019, the US sanctioned the group over its role in the Syrian war.
Over the last year, Liwa Fatemiyoun and other Iranian-backed factions took part in several operations against ISIS cells in central Syria. These forces operate side by side with Syrian government forces.