GULF NEWS- Iran has dangerously escalated its role in the Syrian civil war by sending a large military force to further support the Bashar Al Assad regime. Variously estimated between 7,000 to 15,000 these new Iranian and Iraqi forces may already be in Syria
This Iranian determination may be triggered by an urgent desire to reverse the opposition’s success in Syria’s north-western province in Idlib, where various secular and radical opposition militias recently won control. Iran regards Al Assad as a key strategic asset, and an important part of any eventual peace process would be for Iran to be forced to leave Syria and let the Syrians come to a long-term accommodation on their own. Another factor in the Iranian escalation is that Tehran would also welcome an Al Assad gain before its nuclear deal is signed with the international community so that Iran has more leverage to create mischief in the Arab world as any post-deal political settlement emerges.
The Iranian move also comes when most Iraqi attention is focused on a vital struggle to defeat Daesh or at the very least reverse its recent gains in Ramadi.