Iran continues its regional military strategy with great success after the assassination of its high-ranking general.
When Turkey and Russia agreed on a ceasefire in early March to provide relief to the displaced, Bashar al-Assad recaptured the M4 and M5 highways, the most important supply lines in the last land under terrorist control.
But the decisive role in the offensive against al-Qaeda-affiliated Tahrir al-Sham, the main culprit, was played not by the Syrian army but by Iranian-backed Shiite militias. Their participation was not just about political or sectarian ideologies, and not just because Bashar al-Assad, Iran’s ally was able to recapture parts of the land. The attacks are designed to remind the United States and Russia of Iran’s importance in the region. Since the assassination of General Qassem Suleimani, who strengthened the Assad regime and made Syria a strategic backyard for Tehran, doubts had been raised about changing Iran’s strategy in Syria and commanding and controlling a group of Iranian supporters on the ground.
The Coronavirus epidemic hit Iran hard and led to speculation in the United States that the government is weakening. But Iran is determined to show the world that it insists on staying in the region at all costs. While the United States had hoped that Suleimani’s assassination in January would slow down Iran’s activities in Syria, Iran has instead been doubly active.
Yahya al-Aridi, a spokesman for the Syrian Opposition Political Negotiation Committee, said Iran had now seen a wounded country. The Americans and the Turks are negotiating, the Turks and the Russians are talking, the Russians and the Americans are negotiating, but no one is paying attention to the Iranians.
They are together.
The Iranians wanted to increase their military influence in Idlib and Aleppo. They wanted to say we are here. “We have something to say about what is happening in Syria.”
Russia and Turkey recently signed a ceasefire agreement. Gen. Ismail Qaani, General Suleimani’s successor, visited Aleppo as a demonstration of Iran’s determination to consolidate the achievements it has long fought for. A fortress with Sunni inhabitants and a symbol of the country’s economic power, a city that is historically and economically highly dependent on Turkey. Iran now wants to bring Shiite power there, both to strengthen Assad and to show that allied countries are now in orbit.
Iran’s infiltration arch also passes under the trenches of another Sunni region called Deir ez-Zor. Iran’s efforts in this country are focused on victory over the heart and mind of Syria. Fars al-Alavi, a local journalist, said Iran has set up cultural centers in several cities in the province to attract public opinion. Moreover, it does not appear that Iranian-backed groups and Lebanese Hezbollah intend to leave southern Syria despite recent attacks.
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