A video which surfaced online this week gives “tangible indicators” of Iran’s military involvement in the Syrian conflict, according to a BBC report on Sunday.
The footage reportedly shows at least five Iranians wearing military uniforms, believed to be part of the Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, among a larger group of pro-government Syrian fighters.
“According to the conversations heard in the footage between the Iranians, they are somewhere to the south of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo,” reported the BBC.
In a report in the New York Times on Sunday, the Iranians in the video were described as “military advisors.”
The footage also suggested that Tehran is training Syrian fighters back in Iran, according to the report.
Believed to be uploaded by a group of Syrian opposition fighters, the rebels say the tapes belonged to an Iranian cameraman who died in the fighting.
“The uploaded footage also shows that they [the Iranians] and the rest of the fighters are stationed at a building that looks like a school with notices posted on the walls both in Arabic and in Persian - indicating that the number of Iranians might be well more than the few that we see in the footage,” the BBC reported.
At one point during the video, the camera falls to the ground and the view goes black as bullets can be heard in the background. This may have been the moment of the filmmaker’s death.
Last June, Iran was to reportedly send 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to support President Bashar al-Assad in the fight against opposition forces, according to the The Independent.
In what was described as an Iranian “military decision,” the British newspaper said Iran was “fully committed to preserving Assad’s regime,” citing unnamed pro-Iranian sources.
In August last year, Syrian opposition fighters announced that the 48 kidnapped Iranians were current and former members of the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards and not pilgrims as Iran alleges, in footage aired exclusively by Al Arabiya TV.
The fighters “captured 48 of the Shabiha (militiamen) of Iran who were on a reconnaissance mission in Damascus,” said a man dressed as an officer of the Free Syrian Army, in the video aired by Al Arabiya.
“During the investigation, we found that some of them were officers of the Revolutionary Guards,” he said, showing ID documents taken from one of the men, who appeared in the background with a large Syrian independence flag held by two armed men behind them.