Iran's IRGC attacks anti-Assad protesters in Syria

Monday, March 21, 2011   E-Mail this story   Free Headline Alerts

LONDON Iran's elite military units have been deployed to attack protesters of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Opposition sources said Iran has sent units of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to attack thousands of anti-Assad protesters in the city of Dera. They said IRGC transported hundreds of commandos via helicopter in what could mark the prelude to massive bloodshed.

"The IRGC landed before the killings, which means this is an intentional operation to massacre wholesale the people of Dera," the Reform Party of Syria said. "If true, the Syrian security in Dera has been penetrated."

Five protesters were killed by Syrian troops in Dera on March 18. The protesters flooded the streets of the southern city after Friday mosque prayers and were met by anti-riot and security forces armed with firearms and water cannons and supported by helicopters.

Tribal leaders in Dera have warned that they intend to destroy all military and security facilities unless the Assad regime withdraws its troops. In their statement, the leaders were not identified.

"If our demands are not met, all security centers in the region, including Military Security, Political Security, National Security, and Air Force Security may be burned to the ground," a tribal statement said.

The sources said the Assad regime has been bolstered by both IRGC and the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah. They said both foreign forces were providing anti-riot, armored and air support for Assad's military and security agencies.

Dera marked the bloodiest response by the government to the growing protest movement in Syria. Other anti-regime demonstrations were reported in Banias, Damascus and Homs.

The Assad regime has acknowledged the killing of protesters in Dera. The Interior Ministry has pledged to investigate.

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