Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, seen in blue suit, is the commander of Iran’s elite Quds force ( the foreign division of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps ). Soleimani’s presence in Syria is an indicator of how serious Iran’s involvement in the civil war is. Ya Liban
Reuters: Iran commands 25,000 Shi'ite fighters in Syria: Israeli official
Iran now commands a force of around 25,000 Shi'ite Muslim militants in Syria, mostly made up of recruits from Afghanistan and Pakistan, the former head of Israel's domestic intelligence agency has told a visiting Swiss delegation.
Avi Dichter, chair of Israel's foreign affairs and defense committee, told members of the Swiss parliament the Iranian-backed force was focused on fighting Sunni rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, not Islamic State.
"This is a foreign legion of some 25,000 militants, most of whom have come from Afghanistan and Pakistan," Dichter told the delegation during the briefing on Wednesday, according to details provided by his office. "They are fighting in Syria only against the rebels and not against ISIS."
It was not clear what the source of Dichter's information was, but he receives intelligence briefings in his role.
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WNU Editor: Meanwhile the battle for Aleppo appears to be intensifying .... Aleppo braces for Russian assault as rebels vow to defy ultimatum (The Guardian).