Over the last few months, Iran has shipped hundreds of tons of military equipment and ammo to Damascus in an ongoing airlift. Last week, the Telegraph reported that Iran is sending an additional 150 Revolutionary Guards to Syria.
Iran has responded to international pressure over it’s nuclear program by exacerbating crises in the region. It is supporting PKK attacks against Turkey, urging it followers protest the king of Bahrain, threatening attacks against Israel and opposing the efforts of other Muslim countries to protect the Syrian people from massacre.
The Iranian Guards’ Quds force is responsible for executing Iran’s overseas operations. It’s head, Qassem Suleimani has led the increase in Iran’s support for Syria after the high-profile bombing which killed Syrian defense minister and Assad’s brother-in-law at Syria’s national security headquarters in July.
Iranian support has given an operational boost to Assad and put his forces on the offensive, launching attacks against rebel strongholds in Damascus and Aleppo.
According to Asharq Alawsat, a London Arabic-language newspaper, reports that Iranian communications intelligence specialists are operating in northern Syria to support the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê) more commonly known as PKK.
The PPK is a Kurdish insurgent group which has has been fighting the Turkish government for an autonomous Kurdistan since 1978. They alternatively helped and killed coalition forces in Iraq.
In August, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Assad regime of providing secure base areas in Syria to the PKK. By September, Turkish army officers have assumed direct command of two Syrian rebel brigades fighting Bashar Assad’s government forces, according to debka.com.
From a secure base in Turkey, Turks exercise operational command the rebel North Liberators Brigade in the Idlib region of northern Syria and the Tawhid Brigade fighting in the Al-Bab area northeast of Aleppo with plans to expand command to other rebel units.
Another creature supported by Iranian intelligence, Hezbollah, has also sent fighters to Syria. Hezbollah (Arabic: حزب الله ḥizbu-llāh, literally “Party of God”) is a Shi’a Islamic terror group and political party based in Lebanon. Hezbollah was formed in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its forces were trained and organized the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of Iran. For decades, the Assad regime allowed Iran to ship arms and equipment through Syria to Lebanon where Hezbollah has attacked Israel.
Expecting a diversionary attack from Hezbollah, the Israeli Defense Force has placed units on the Syrian and Lebanese borders on a state of alert and deployed an Iron Dome anti-missile battery forward.
The American Government has identified Hezbollah cells have operated on U.S. soil for years. Their criminal activities focus on money laundering, drug smuggling and fraud to fund activities in Lebanon. In one case, the DEA investigated 70 used-car dealerships which were used to laundering hundreds of millions of dollars of cocaine sales profits. The money was tracked directly to Hezbollah
Many Iranian diplomats in the United Nations are intelligence officers who direct these activities. If Iran is attacked, they may decide to use their Hezbollah assets in the U.S. to retaliate. There are also significant Hezbollah assets in Mexico and South America.
Expect to see more Iranian special operations activity world wide. We will be watching.
(Photo: AFP: Syrian government forces take position with a tank in the Saif al-Dawla district of Aleppo)