Iran mobilizes more troops to Syria

The Iranian military presence in Syria has rapidly escalated in recent days, with hundreds of fresh troops reported to be arriving at an airport in Latakia governorate already being used by Russian warplanes. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Oct. 15 that its observors on the ground noted the arrivals at Bassel al-Assad International Airport (named for the current dictator's son), near Jableh. The report comes as the Syrian army has launched a major offensive north of the strategic city of Homs. The report comes a day after Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, met the Syrian parliament speaker in Damascus. "If Syria makes a request [for Iranian forces], we will study the request and make a decision," Boroujerdi told AFP before the meeting. "Iran is serious about the fight against terrorism. We have supplied aid and weapons and sent advisers to Syria and Iraq." (Al Jazeera, Oct. 15)

Israeli military and intelligence sources also said Oct. 15, that 3,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards troops had secretly landed in Syria. The statement came in response to news that Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards' elite al-Quds Force, had visited the Syrian side of the Golan Heights in recent days. The visit was apparently intended to boost morale of Syrian and Hezbollah forces. (Times of Israel, Oct. 15)