Pro-opposition media reported widely Monday on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard taking over two regime supporters’ farms in Hama province under the pretext of turning the properties into military bases [see al-Souria.net’s report here].
“The Iranian presence [in the Hama countryside] has increased noticeably” after Jabhat a-Nusra attacked Briagde 47 in September, Ibrahim a-Shamali, a citizen journalist living in the Hama countryside, tells Noura Hourani.
“The regime’s forces at Brigade 47 were replaced by Iranian brigades” following the attack, says a-Shamali a claim corroborated by pro-opposition and Kurdish media outlets.
Q: Is this the first example of Iranians taking over land and property in the area?
“No it’s not. Iranian militias took over headquarters in the city of Slanfa, in the hills of Latakia, and Safita in the western Tartous countryside, and settled in there. We receive this information through testimony of civilians living in these areas.
After Jabhat a-Nusra carried out an operation in the Hama countryside, the Iranian presence increased noticeably: the regime’s forces at Brigade 47 were replaced by Iranian brigades after Nusra attacked the base roughly a month ago [September 7 and 8; for information on Iranian officers taking over Brigade 47, see ARA News here].”
Q: A while ago reports came out around infighting among Iranian and Syrian officers, even that some Syrian officers had been executed. Is this true?
“Yes. Some of the regime soldiers who defected during the battles against the Victory Army talked about these executions, particularly in the Jourin area in Sahl al-Ghab in the northwestern Hama countryside. They talked about Iranian officers with the Revolutionary Guard executing officers from the Syrian army—field executions—because those officers fled or failed to execute the Iranians’ orders.”