Iran and Hizbullah have increased their military aid to the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad to assist him in his 13-month crackdown on protestors, Israeli daily Haaretz quoted Western intelligence reports as saying.
The newspaper reported that Israeli defense officials have said the potential fall of the Assad regime prompted Iran and Hizbullah to increase their involvement in the Syrian crisis.
According to the reports, Iranian assistance to Syria, which is dubbed “the shadow army” by Israel, consists of extensive arms shipments including rockets, mortars and anti-aircraft missiles that could be used against a potential air strike by international forces.
The so-called shadow army was coordinated by Hizbullah military commander Imad Mughniyeh and Syrian general Mohammed Suleiman, who were killed in two separate incidents in 2008, Haaretz said.
Syria and Hizbullah have accused the Jewish state of carrying out the assassinations.
Haaretz said the western reports claim that Iranian and Hizbullah assistance to Assad also includes the training of Syrian troops in urban warfare, as well as drone operations.
The reports reveal that Iranian Revolutionary Guards officials frequently make top-secret visits to Syria to advise the regime on how to deal with the rebels.
As for Hizbullah, it has allegedly beefed up the deployment of its fighters along the Lebanese-Syrian border, in an attempt to prevent arms spillover to Sunni opposition groups.
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