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Friday, January 27, 2012

Assad's mercenaries

I would have suspected this even if they had not reported it, but now that it's been reported, we can make it official. The people doing the shooting in the streets of Damascus are forces loyal to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and to Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
SYRIA is deploying large numbers of Hezbollah and Iranian snipers as "military consultants" to murder anti-regime protesters, a senior government defector has told The Times.

The salaries of the marksmen are paid through a slush fund replenished with US dollars flown in from Iran, according to Mahmoud Haj Hamad, who was the treasury's top auditor at the Defence Ministry until he fled Syria last month.

The same fund is used to pay the Shabiha, the gangs of thugs who have joined the state security services in torturing and killing protesters.

Mr Hamad, appalled at the destruction of cities by the armed forces, fled Syria with his family last month. His account is the first by a senior insider to confirm the presence of foreign forces in Syria to help to prop up the regime.

Even as the government was blaming the uprising on plots by its Arab neighbours and "foreign elements", it was turning to its regional allies to help to suppress the protests.

"The Syrian intelligence weren't qualified, they didn't have decent snipers or equipment," he said in an interview. "They needed qualified snipers from Hezbollah and Iran."

Both have tight military ties with the regime of President Assad, a member of the Alawite sect, a sub-group of the Shia branch of Islam.

Mr Hamad said: "At the beginning there were hundreds, then when things started to get worse they started to bring in more outsiders. The numbers were huge - in the thousands."

The foreign reinforcements are prized by the regime for their street-fighting abilities, having crushed dissent in Iran and Lebanon.

Mr Hamad said that he could see the men living in compounds around his office on the 12th floor of a Ministry of Defence building in the Damascus neighbourhood of Kafar Souseh, a facility shared by military intelligence.
This isn't at all surprising. Some of you may recall that there were Syrian and Hezbullah forces deployed on the streets of Tehran in the summer of 2009.

Here's a video from the Syrian opposition, which captured five Iranian snipers on Thursday in Homs. The video is in Persian and Arabic, but an English summary follows.

Let's go to the videotape.

Here's the message that goes with the video:
Five of these malignant animals were captured with their guns and the other two are workers in a state company in Syria. The Free Syrian Army will allow those last two to go home with no condition whatsoever but with others: Iran Must remove all their mercenaries working with the 'Syrian' regime , who are helping each other in killing innocent civilians, then the FSA will set those free. We respect the Shia religion and we demand from Ali Khamie to tell the Iranian government to stop supporting the brutal regime in Syria and take all their thugs out of Syria.


Israel Radio reports on a couple of the things said in the video above. The five prisoners - who were captured in Homs on Thursday - admit that they are Iranians and that they are members of the Revolutionary Guard forces.

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