The sources said IRGC has been assigned to what they termed the "dirty
work" in quelling the revolt against Assad. They said IRGC, aided by
Hizbullah, was also participating in the identification and capture of
rebels, including defecting soldiers.
IRGC was said to have supplied artillery and main battle tank shells to
maintain the Syrian Army's drive against the rebels. The sources said Iran
also transported tools for the torture of detained protesters.
"The Assad regime is receiving aid across its borders from its neighbors
who owe allegiance to the Teheran regime," Syrian opposition spokesman
Nasser Jaber said.
Jaber, spokesman for the National Resistance of Al Ahwaz, said Iran,
through IRGC fronts, was helping smuggle billions of dollars to the Assad
regime. At the same time, he said, the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah was
transporting weapons and fighters from Lebanon to Syria.
"Iran and its followers believe that the collapse of the Assad regime
will put the expanding Iranian project in the region at risk," Jaber said.
The opposition has opened a dialogue with the Iranian regime to end
support for Assad. Over the last month, leading Iranians, including
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, have called on Assad to institute reform.
"I do not think the Syrian regime would have been able to survive
militarily and economically over this long period without the aid of
Teheran," opposition leader Bahiya Mardini, chairwoman of the Arab Committee
for the Defense of Freedom of Expression, told the London-based daily
A-Sharq Al Awsat.
But opposition sources doubted whether the Iranian leadership would
abandon Assad. They said Assad has ensured Iranian domination of Lebanon as
well as significant influence in Syria.
Iran also employed Syria as a base to control such proxies as Hamas,
Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front the Liberation of
Palestine-General Command. The sources said Iran was believed to have
deployed more than 4,000 fighters in Syria.
A Syrian military defector agreed. Walid Qushamie, a Syrian who fled the
army in July, said he had encountered Hizbullah fighters in a
Republican Guard base in Damascus.