The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is reportedly working to establish a tribal force in the eastern Syrian governorate of Deir Ezzor.
The Eye of Euphrates said that the IRGC efforts are being coordinated by the commander of the Iranian-backed al-Sheikh Brigade, Akram Ahmed al-Akram al-Khader.
According to the pro-opposition news outlet, al-Khader, also known as “al-Sheikh,” held on February 2 a meeting with prominent tribal leaders from the government-held part of southern Deir Ezzor in his house in the town of al-Mayadin.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the Arab tribes of Al Akidat, Al Shahidah, Al Baqara, Al Qalai’in, Al Busraya, Al Qaraan and Al Juhaish.
During the meeting, al-Sheikh called on local leaders to establish a joint tribal force in Deir Ezzor. He also promised that the IRGC will provide the needed support. A future meeting with the IRGC top officers in the governorate was also discussed.
“The mission of the new tribal force will be to support Iranian forces in their military operations in the region as a whole, and in the Badia [desert] regions in particular,” the Eye of Euphrates quoted al-Sheikh as saying.
Recently, Iranian-backed forces in Deir Ezzor, Homs and Raqqa became more involved in the ongoing operations against ISIS cells in the central region.
This development shows how Iran’s influence in Syria is growing despite the ever increasing economic and military pressure from the US and Israel.
A report released by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on February 3 revealed that the IRGC has recruited 9,600 local fighters in Syria’s southern region and 8,350 others in Deir Ezzor so far.
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