Mark Collins – Syria Update: Islamists (non-ISIS), Iranians, Russians (plus cruise missiles), US TOWs

At Foreign Policy’s “Situation Report“:


There’s a new alliance of Syrian rebel jihadist groups joining forces to take on Russian and Syrian regime forces around Damascus, the Long War Journal reports. The Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, joined up with Ahrar al Sham and Ajnad al Sham to form Jund al Malahim, which it says will create a joint operations center to take on the Assad regime in the capital. In a founding statement posted on social media, the group cited a renewed regime assault on the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta as part of the motivation for the united front.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is pledging to send more “advisors” to Syria just as the Guards have lost a string of senior officers in the fighting there. An IRGC spokesman told the Islamic Republic News Agencythat Iran will honor a Syrian request to send more troops to the country. On Saturday, Fars News Agencyacknowledged the deaths of Mostafa Sadrzadeh and Milad Mostafavi, two Guards members Fars says were killed near Aleppo in the north of Syria…

The Wall Street Journal reports that Russia redeployed special operations troops from Ukraine to Syria in late September as part of its efforts to defend the Assad regime. A U.S. official says the troops are in Syria in order to coordinate Syrian ground troops and Russian airpower in the country. A Russian defense ministry official tells the Journal that its elite Zaslon special operations unit and military intelligence officials are also now in Syria.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia are pledging to increase support to Syrian rebels in the wake of a renewed Russian, Iranian, and Syrian military assault on the opposition to the Assad regime, according to the Daily Telegraph. The announcement comes as Secretary of State John Kerry is in Saudi Arabia for talks, and hints at a renewed focus on the CIA program to supply rebels with TOW anti-tank missiles. Rebels’ use of TOWs is up 800 percent as they try to fend off renewed offensives by the Assad regime and its international allies…

Plus (lots of graphics):

How Russia fired missiles at Syria from 1,000 miles away

caspian.jpg

Earlier:

Syria, or, WEIRD Obamaprof Meets Bad Vlad’s Fangs, Part 2

New Liberal PM-Designate Trudeau Tells Obama RCAF to Stop Anti-ISIS Combat

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

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