Iran increasing lethal aid to Syria: US daily
Iran is increasing its aid, especially lethal assistance, to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his crackdown on opposition forces.
Washington: Iran is increasing its aid, especially lethal assistance, to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his crackdown on opposition forces, a US daily has said.
Three unnamed US officials with access to intelligence reports from the Middle East described a spike in Iranian-supplied arms and other aid to the Syrian government at a time when Damascus was mounting an unprecedented offensive to crush resistance in the key city of Homs, the Washington Post reported.
"The aid from Iran is increasing, and is increasingly focused on lethal assistance," one of the unnamed officials was quoted as saying.
The US officials said intelligence agencies have reports on a wide range of Iranian assistance, including equipment, weapons and technical assistance to help Syria suppress the unrest.
Iran has also sent security officials to Damascus to help deliver this assistance.
Iran`s main intelligence service, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security, is also assisting Syrian counterparts in charge of the crackdown, another senior US official was quoted as saying.
According to Xinhua, the Obama administration last month imposed sanctions against the Iranian intelligence service for its "financial, material and technological support" to the Syrian crackdown.
Sanctions were earlier imposed on Iran`s elite Quds Force for providing training and equipment to Syrian security units.
Syria has been gripped by unrest since March 2011. The protest movement started peacefully with demands for modest reforms. However, protesters` demands snowballed later to the toppling of Assad`s government. According to the UN, more than 7,500 people have died in the unrest.