Iran Steps Up Aid to Syria


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is not Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's sole supporter.

Iran has also increased supplies of weaponry and personnel to train troops and keep close tabs on the situation, including intelligence gathering.

In addition, the Islamic Republic has prompted Hezbollah, its Lebanese Shi'ite proxy, to continue sending men to flight alongside Assad's troops.

With support from Russia and Iran, Assad's security forces are holding their own, empowering him not to back down during recent peace talks.

According to media reports, Iran has several hundred members of its al Quds Force on the ground in Syria, with up to 70 commanders among them. Iranian volunteer fighters, who are part of its paramilitary Basij group, reportedly number in the thousands. 

Sh'ite Muslims from Iraq are also on the ground in Syria. Those numbers have reportedly increased in the past few months.

Weaponry, including tanks, rifles and other munitions arrive in Syria's Latakia and Tartous ports.


Reuters contributed to this report.

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