Is Iran Helping Syria to Suppress Demonstrations?

According to a senior Israeli government source, quoted by the newspaper Haaretz today, Iranian Revolutionary Guards are active throughout Syria to crush protests against the regime of Bashir al-Assad.

An eyewitness claims to have seen uniformed soldiers with beards speaking poor Arabic or Farsi among themselves. Since in the Syrian Army there is a ban on beards this would indicate Iranian troops on the ground in Syria.

Iran is also accused of instigating the mass protests by Palestinians on the Golan Heights and in Lebanon on Nakba Day (15 May) and allegedly promised $ 1,000 for each participant and $ 10,000 for each ‘martyr’.

The spokesperson of a local human aid group said that since the unrest began at least 1,300 people have died and 10,000 are detained. More than 10,000 others have fled the country over the border into Turkish Hatay Province, where the government has practically sealed off the area around the refugee camps.

A Turkish government official confirmed yesterday that ‘the situation around the refugee camps in Yayladagi is unclear and therefore it is not possible for journalists to access the camps and talk to refugees’.

(Sources: Haaretz, Middle East & Balkans News; 22 June 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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