`Iran increasing lethal aid to Syrian regime`

Last Updated: Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 15:43

Washington: Iran is increasing its "lethal"
military and intelligence assistance to the embattled Syrian
regime in its crackdown on opposition strongholds like Homs,
according to a media report on Sunday.

Iran has increased supply of arms and other aid for
Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad at a time when his regime is
mounting an "unprecedented offensive to crush resistance in
the key city of Homs", `The Washington Post` said quoting
unnamed US officials with access to intelligence reports from
the region.

"The aid from Iran is increasing, and is increasingly
focused on lethal assistance," said one of the officials.

The expanded Iranian role in the conflict has been
underscored by reports supported by US intelligence findings that an Iranian operative was recently wounded while working
with Syrian security forces inside the country.

The flow of military aid to Assad comes as Arab states
are considering arming the regime`s opponents, raising the
risk of a wider conflict that US officials fear could spread
to neighbouring countries, the Post said.

In addition, the intelligence reports about rising
Iranian support for Syria come as US officials are seeking to
rally international support for efforts to drive Assad from
power without resorting to arming the rebels a move the
Obama administration has opposed.

The portrayal offered by the US officials quoted in
the article is more detailed than previously reported; such
accounts are generally difficult to verify independently.

Iran has made no secret of its support for the Assad
regime, though President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made repeated
calls for a peaceful solution to the conflict, which began
almost a year ago.

The US intelligence assessments are in line with recent
reports by Syrian rebels, who say Iran`s involvement in the
crackdown has escalated.

Opposition leaders, citing high-ranking defectors from
the Syrian military, say Iran has dispatched hundreds of
advisers, security officials and intelligence operatives to
Syria, along with weapons, money and electronic surveillance

According to the UN, Syrian security forces have killed
over 7,500 civilians since an uprising against Assad`s regime
began last year.


First Published: Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 15:43

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