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Iranian commandos deployed to Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian soldiers patrol the town of al-Quaryatayn, a former key bastion of Daesh, in Syria’s central Homs Province, after retaking it from the terrorist group, April 3, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

An Iranian military official says commandos from an Iranian army unit have been deployed to Syria on an advisory mission.

Brigadier General Ali Arasteh, the deputy for coordination in the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces, told Tasnim news agency on Monday that the Iranian commandos, from Brigade 65 of the Forces, had took on a mission of advising Syrian forces.

Iran maintains military advisers in Syria, where the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is fighting an array of foreign-backed militant forces, including, but not limited to, those of the Daesh terrorist group. Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, the so-called al-Nusra Front, is another one of the groups engaged in brutal activities against the Syrian people and government.

Brigadier General Ali Arasteh, the deputy for coordination in the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces

The Iranian advisory presence comes as part of defense agreements reached between the governments of Iran and Syria. Iran does not have boots on the ground in the Arab country.

Russia, another Syrian ally, has been conducting an aerial campaign against terrorist groups in Syria since September 2015. The bombing campaign had been requested by the Syrian government.

With allied help, the Syrian government has been able to take back militant-held areas, including recently the ancient city of Palmyra, which had been run over by Daesh back in May 2015.

Militancy began in Syria in March 2011, and has, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, killed at least 270,000 people. Some reports, however, put the death toll at as high as 470,000.

The United Nations (UN) has appointed several special envoys for Syria over the course of the conflict in the country. Italian-Swedish diplomat Staffan de Mistura is the latest person to serve in the post.

Syrian forces conduct clean-up operations in Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, after recapturing it from Daesh, in this handout picture provided by SANA on March 27, 2016. (Via Reuters)

Amid the increasing victories of the Syrian army in degrading militants, Russia announced in mid-March that it would be pulling out its forces from Syria, and thus provide a stimulus for the peace talks that have been held under the aegis of the UN for the Arab country.  

Speaking back then, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, however, that Russia’s two forward military bases in Syria, the airbase in Hmeimim in the coastal province of Latakia and the naval facility in the port of Tartus, will remain operational.

The United States has been leading an international bombing campaign in Syria - without an authorization from Damascus - since September 2014. That campaign, declared to be against Daesh, has fallen short of dislodging the terrorist group, however.

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