News / Middle East

Iran Says Its Elite Forces in Syria

Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
x
Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
Commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, speaks at a press conference in Tehran, Iran, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012.
VOA News
Iran says advisers from its elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps are providing non-military assistance in Syria - and that Tehran may take military action if its closest ally is attacked by outside forces.

The statement by guards' commander Mohammad Ali Jafari on Sunday is the first official acknowledgement that Iran has a military presence in Syria, where warfare during a government crackdown on an 18-month-old opposition uprising has left thousands dead.

Iranian media quoted Jafari as saying that a number of "Quds Force" members "are present in Syria." He did not indicate how many but said they are providing "intellectual and advisory help."

The Quds Force is a Revolutionary Guards' unit set up to export Iran's ideology. It has been accused of plotting attacks inside Iraq since the ouster of the late dictator Saddam Hussein.

U.S. officials this month said Iraq was facilitating the transfer of weapons to Syria by opening its airspace to Iranian aircraft. Baghdad has denied the accusation.

Jafari also said any Israeli attack on Iran would trigger retaliatory action against U.S. bases in the region and that trade through the Strait of Hormuz would be disrupted.

Meanwhile, violence continued in Syria as government troops pounded rebel-held districts Sunday in the cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Daraa, Hama, Homs and Deir Ezzor with aerial bombardments and heavy artillery.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 20 people were killed in the fighting.

Also Sunday, international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi left Damascus after a four-day visit during which he met with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

The rebel commander for northern Aleppo province told the French news agency that Brahimi's mission would likely not succeed but that anti-government forces "do not want to be the reason for his failure."

Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Okaidi told AFP he had participated in a conference call with Brahimi and two other rebel commanders.

Okaidi said the U.N.-Arab League envoy's mission will fail because "the international community does not actually want to help the Syrian people."

Eighteen months into the crisis, international action remains paralyzed, with the West, the Gulf Arab states and Turkey calling for Mr. Assad's removal, and Russia and China standing by their ally in Damascus.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid