Confirmed: First evidence of Iranian-controlled militia involvement in southern Syria

A photo released by Liwa Zulfiqar on Facebook with the caption “Men of the Syrian Arab Army and the Islamic Resistance Liwa Zulfiqar from the heart of Busra al Harir.”

The Iraqi Shia militia Liwa Zulfiqar, which is controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, released a picture of its forces in the southern Syria town of Busra al Harir. The photo offers first confirmed evidence of the Iraqi militia’s – and thereby Iran’s – involvement in the current Syrian offensive on rebel-held areas in southern Syria.

Released on its Facebook page, the Iraqi Liwa Zulfiqar advertised its presence in the current offensive with several photos and videos. It also released celebratory photos from Busra al Harir yesterday. One video depicted its fighters advancing on the front alongside Syrian regime troops. Further proving its presence in Deraa, the group also released photos of a purported assassination attempt of its leader in the province.

Other photos and videos circulating online purporting to show Liwa Fatemiyoun or Lebanese Hezbollah fighters in Deraa are several years old.

Last week, the Assad regime launched it offensive in southern Syria, a zone that was ostensibly under a Russian-American ceasefire. The regime and allied forces have pushed into various areas in Deraa province, while the regime has dropped dozens of barrel bombs on various villages and Russia has reportedly launched several airstrikes in the region. Hospitals have reportedly been targeted in the barrages. The town of Busra al Harir, which sits in a strategic position in rebel-held eastern Deraa, reportedly fell to the regime yesterday.

Article updated with new information.

Video of Liwa Zulfiqar’s troops in Deraa:


Caleb Weiss is an editor of FDD's Long War Journal and a senior analyst at the Bridgeway Foundation, where he focuses on the spread of the Islamic State in Central Africa.

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  • Virgile says:

    The Iranians and the Russsians have all the rights to be in Syria. They have been officially invited by the UN recognized Syrian government.
    The USA’s supposed “advisors” are in Syria illegally. Their presence and their military support has been confirmed and reconfirmed.
    The Syrians army has all the legal rights to use all the resources they have access to to get rid of these parasites and their proxies in the region.

  • Mark says:

    Hey: so what; they are invited and stand on soverign Syrian land; Guess what YOU are doing; send some high school syudents to do your foreign office job

  • Robin Morritt says:

    Al Qaeda have never been covered by any deescalation zone agreement. Same for ISIS.

  • timeisaflatcircle says:

    I always assume that any time there is a government offensive, Iranians and a coalition of Shia militias are involved by default.
    Even in areas deep in government territory, they are always tying up loose ends and they have training facilities and weapons storage there, this has been known for years.

  • irebukeu says:

    Those guys are pretty lightly equipped. They better hope they don’t run into a firefight. Perhaps the guy with the camera was holding all their gear so they could move quicker for the camera.

  • namenotrelevant says:

    Read the book by HJ Poole titled Tactics of the Crescent Moon, it provides a rundown of the light infantry style of warfare being used by the Iranian-affiliated militias in Syria and Iraq. It’s a good read and I think pretty relevant to the conflict if anyone has remembered the book too.

  • Mark Matis says:

    Before Carter, Iran was our staunch ally. And the Shah treated the decent citizens of the country well. He was rough on the terrorists. But what seems to be the problem with that?

  • KW says:

    When the Syrian government and military resorted to using chemical weapons on civilians they lost all legitimacy in the eyes of the world and in the eyes of God. This is also a classic overreach by Iranian Government forces and they will pay dearly for their current foreign policy strategy and lack of military preparedness. they are not ready to acquire, hold and defend a land bridge from Iran to Syria.


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