Iranian forces and Lebanon’s Hezbollah had recruited more than 11,000 fighters in eastern and southern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) claimed in a report released on July 3.
According to the London-based monitoring group, 6,600 fighters were recruited in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor and 5,100 in the southern governorates of Daraa and al-Quneitra.
Recruits in Deir Ezzor were locals from the Middle Euphrates River Valley. Most of them are from towns and villages located between the cities of al-Mayadin and al-Bukamal in the southern countryside.
In Daraa and al-Quneitra, Iranian forces are recruiting the locals through its proxy groups like the al-Arin Regiments and the 313th Brigade. Recruitment offices are located in the towns of Saida, Dael and Izraa.
“The repeated Israeli strikes on Iranian forces in Syria’s territory, and the losses inflicted on them [Iranian forces] as a result, didn’t stop them or limit their influence … Iran is refusing to submit and leave Syria and is only changing its positions from time to time,” the SOHR’s report reads.
Iranian forces maintain a strong presence in southern Deir Ezzor. Quds Force commander, Brigadier General Esmail Ghaani, paid a visit to the region on June 27. However, Iranian presence in southern Syria is not that significant.
The numbers provided by the SOHR have not been verified by any independent group. These claims appear to be a part of the ongoing propaganda campaign against Iranian presence in Syria.
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