Iran is willing to send more soldiers to key ally Syria if Damascus requests them, a senior Iranian official said Thursday on a visit to the war-torn country.
“If Syria makes a request (for Iranian forces), we will study the request and make a decision,” said Alaedin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee.
“What’s important is that Iran is serious about the fight against terrorism,” he added. “We have supplied aid and weapons and sent advisors to Syria and Iraq.”
Iran is a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and has stood by the embattled president since protests against his regime began in March 2011.
In recent days, thousands of Iranian fighters are reported to have arrived at a military airport in Syria’s coastal Latakia province, according to Syrian military sources.
They would join senior Iranian military advisers and special forces troops already in the country, as well as thousands of fighters from the Tehran-backed Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah, in bolstering the Assad’s regime troops. Iran has also trained and equipped pro-regime paramilitary forces such as the National Defense Force (NDF) to supplement the overstretched Syrian Arab Army, and provided the Assad regime with weapons, equipment and funding to maintain its bloody campaign against Sunni rebels.
Another key Assad ally, Russia, has offered direct military support in the form of an aerial campaign that began on September 30.
Boroujerdi said Thursday that “military operations” currently underway in Syria “take place in support of a political solution and peace” in the country, in an apparent reference to Moscow’s campaign.
Boroujerdi has been in Syria for three days and met Thursday morning with Assad to express Iran’s continuing support for the government in Damascus.
He also slammed the US-led coalition that has been carrying out air strikes in Syria since last year, saying it had “failed despite billions of dollars.”
The comments come as Iran is still reeling from its most significant losses yet in Syria, with the death of one of the country’s highest-ranking generals – General Hossein Hamedani – followed shortly afterwards by the loss of two other senior military officers fighting ISIS forces.