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Beirut- Asaad al-Zoubi, head of the Syrian opposition delegation of High Negotiations Committee (HNC) in Geneva, said that Iranian forces are gradually arriving to battle zones in Syria. Over 11 thousand Iranian fighters had recently, boarding cargo jets, arrived at the Damascus International Airport and to Hama city, located on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria.

Diab, Youssef and Fath al-rahman Youssef.  “Al-Zoubi to Asharq Al-Awsat: 80 thousand Iranian Units in Syria.”  Asharq Al-Awsat, May 18, 2016.

Almost 700 Iranian soldiers and militia fighters have been killed in Syria’s civil war, laying bare the scale and cost of Tehran’s intervention to preserve Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power.

Blair, David.  “Almost 700 Iranian troops and militia fighters ‘killed in Syria’ to preserve Bashar al-Assad.”  The Telegraph, May 10, 2016.

Blair pegs the total Iranian commitment of troops, Quds Force and IRGC at 3,000.

For some years now, BackChannels has chained together Moscow, Damascus, and Tehran as equal co-defenders of the “medieval absolute power” on which their respective kleptocracies depend for existence.  That balance of nefarious power may be changing:

“Russia has reduced its air strikes Syria, and so all those Iranians are getting killed because of a lack of air cover,” Kamhawi said. “This seems to be part of a Russian strategy to marginalise Iran’s role in Syria and make its influence unparalleled.”

Al-Tamimi, Jumana.  “Russia moves to check Iran’s power in Syria: Moscow has reduced its air cover of Iranian and Hezbollah militants fighting in Syria.”  Gulf News, May 15, 2016.

Although RT may deny it, Russia’s military presence in Syria appears in the news alternatives (like AP, Fox News — those “alternatives”) to be expanding.

Cole, Brendan.  “War on ISIS: Row rages over Russian military base in ancient Syrian site of Palmyra.”  International Business Times, May 19, 2016.

Mroue, Bassem.  “Russia builds military camp near ancient site in Palmyra.”  AP The Big Story, May 17, 2016.

As “scrape and comment” hasn’t lasting appeal to this blog’s editor — even though at a computer, one naturally looks things up — this post will stop about here and on this note: While Iran has produced a greater fighting presence in the Syrian Tragedy, it may be the Phantom of the Soviet that has irrevocably planted new military assets in the state.

Additional Reference

BackChannels.  “FTAC — Russia’s Not So Appealing Turn in Syria.” March 6, 2016.  The piece contains additional reference to Russia’s expanded military presence in Syria.

The Tower.  “Wave of Iranian Volunteer Soldiers in Syria Causing Further Destabilization.”  May 15, 2016.

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