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Syria: 14 militias backed by Iran killed in recent airstrikes

Iran-backed militias have been under constant by unknown aircraft conducting continuous airstrikes in Syria
Iran-backed militias have been under constant by unknown aircraft conducting continuous airstrikes in Syria

Reporting by PMOI/MEK

Iran, August 10, 2020—Fourteen members of militia groups backed by the Iranian regime, dispatched to Syria in efforts to maintain Bashar Assad in power, have been killed in airstrikes that took place Sunday morning, according to the Syrian Human Rights Observatory.

These militia members were stationed in bases located in the city of Deir Ezzur in eastern Syria. It is worth noting that these individuals are mainly Iranians and Iraqis, and most of them have been severely injured. The number of fatalities is likely to raise, according to the Observatory’s report.

The mullahs’ regime has a long history of recruiting men from countries across the region and dispatching them to the war in Syria as cannon fodders. Reports indicate that on Monday, July 27, several officials of the Karaj Central Prison, located west of the Iranian capital Tehran, along with a delegation seen in high quality clothing, visited the wards of this prison in search of inmates to send to Syria to fight as cannon fodders alongside the Assad regime’s forces.

This delegation asked inmates in jail for murder or kidnapping, those sentenced to death and heavy prison terms to sign up to be sent to Syria and fighting with the Iranian regime’s forces striving to maintain Bashar Assad in power in Damascus. These individuals were promised to be released from prison if they agree to fight in Syria.

There have been similar reports in the past. An inmate released from a prison in a different province of Iran, who was in jail for an ordinary crime and sentenced to a long prison term, described what he had witnessed. “I was suggested to go and fight in Syria. We were promised to go to countries under Iran’s sphere of influence, such as Syria, and in return we would be released from prison. Of course, if we were to survive. Some inmates who were sentenced to death or had long prison terms agreed knowing they had no other choice. If anyone refuses to be dispatched to Syria, they will be executed or face death in prison. If they do agree, maybe they have a chance to be relieved of execution,” this prisoner said.

“If a prisoner returns from a country where he has been sent to, he will be dispatched to another war in another country, such as Lebanon or… Then he is returned to Iran and given a home in a faraway city from his home town. He also has no right to contact his family. As a result, this individual is hired by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and he will be sent to war whenever needed,” this inmate continued.

This source said the following regarding other specific cases he had personally witnessed: “I saw two cases with my own eyes. One individual went by the name of Rauf. His family and other inmates were told he was executed. He was sentenced to death on charges of preparing and possessing narcotics. He was sent directly from the [IRGC] intelligence to Syria. He told me he is going to Syria, but they will lie to you and say I was executed.”

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The Iranian regime has spent billions of dollars on propping up the Assad regime in Syria, a member of the Majlis (parliament) said in March but published in May. Etemad Online, a state-run news website, quoted Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, MP from Kermanshah and member of the Majlis Security Commission, as saying: “We may have given $20-30 billion to Syria.”

“When I went to Syria, some complained that I had caused expenses, but I will say this again: We may have given $20-30 billion to Syria. The money of this people was spent there,” Falahatpisheh said.

When Falahatpisheh was the chairman of the Security Commission, he led a parliamentary delegation to Syria, where he met with Emad Khamis, the Prime Minister of the Assad regime.

The Iranian regime has been entrenched in the Syrian war since it broke out in 2011. In addition to financial support, Tehran has been sending a constant flow of weapons and armed forces to the country to prevent the overthrow of its ally Bashar al-Assad. According to the estimates made by the Iranian Resistance, the mullahs’ regime may have spent up to $100 billion on the Syrian war.

Regarding the increase in price of gasoline, which caused mass protests across Iran in November, Falahatpisheh said, “How many economic problems do we have in the country? The increase in gasoline prices generates 2 trillion rials per day. This is the average revenue generated by the increase in gasoline prices and selling the surplus to other countries. We can distribute this 200 trillion rial to the provinces to solve their problems. This is just part of the revenue.”

The remarks are published at a time that the regime has lifted coronavirus quarantines and is forcing the people to go back to work, claiming that the government does not have the financial means to support continued lockdowns. The reopening of the economy has caused a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases across the country and has returned several provinces into critical conditions.

“In the budget, oil revenue equals to a fourth of the share of taxes. This means that in reality, it is the people who are paying for the country’s expenses. And this is a country that is sitting on a sea of oil,” Falahatpisheh said. “If we consider all of this, it means that we have the necessary budget to solve the country’s economic problems, that is, if the budget is not spent on other things.”

This MP also attacked Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Majlis, and said, “The Speaker represents the Majlis in some decision-making institutions. Larijani wasn’t an MP. In fact, he represented those institutions, especially the Supreme National Security Council or the branches of power.”

The Supreme National Security Council decides on crucial issues. It is presided by regime president Hassan Rouhani and all its decisions are vetted by the supreme leader Ali Khamenei.