With over 26,000 fighters | Iran dominates west Euphrates region
Popular Mobilization Forces bring in new weapons shipment from Iraq to west Euphrates, storing it in Syrian archaeological sites
As the Iranians have been strengthening their presence in all areas under the control of the Syrian regime, west Euphrates region, stretching from al-Bokamal on the Syria-Iraqi border to al-Tabni area running through al-Mayadeen and Deir Ezzor cities, has been turned into an “Iranian reserve” with the largest gathering of Iranian forces and proxy militias. These forces and militias already dominate the entire region of west Euphrates at all levels, including the commercial, civil and political aspects at a time when the Russians are attempting to compete with the Iranians in the region, but to no avail so far, while the Syrian regime seems satisfied with its symbolic domination.
In this context, reliable sources in west Euphrates region have told SOHR that the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces brought in a new weapons shipment from Iraq to west Euphrates region, via crossings run by Iranian-backed militias. According to SOHR sources, the shipment, which comprised medium range surface-to-surface missiles, has been stored in warehouses in the archaeological region of al-Shabla and archaeological fortress of al-Rahba on the outskirts of al-Mayadeen city in eastern Deir Ezzor. This development comes as a part of the Iranians’ misuse of the Syrian monuments, and their violations against Syria’s heritage.
On the other hand, Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas militia has transported a shipment of weapons and ammunition in a vehicle used for transporting vegetables and fruit, as a part of camouflage, from the outskirts of al-Bokamal in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor to al-Raqqah desert for unknown reasons.
Meanwhile, Iranian-backed militias continue recruiting young and adult men in west Euphrates region by offering financial incentives and continuous usage of religion and sectarianism.
Moreover, recruitment operations also extended to women and girls, as SOHR sources reported in the recent time that “Abu el Fadel al-Abbas militia” entrusted nearly 25 women of its militiamen’s families to communicate with other girls and women in al-Mayadeen and convinced them to convert to Shiism. SOHR sources added that the Shia females were also instructed to convince the new affiliates to join some religious courses for explaining the Shiism in some cultural centers by offering them food supplies. This development came in light of Iranian-backed militias’ carrot policies for luring the inhabitants to join their ranks.
Children have been not excluded from such practices, as periodical trips are held for children under supervision of the Iranian Culture Centre with the aim to spread the Iranian culture and teachings.
It is worth noting that the deployment of the Iranian forces and their proxy militias is mainly concentrated at illegal military crossings in the following areas:
- Al-Bokamal countryside
- Al-Jamiyaat and al-Katif neighbourhoods in the city of al-Bokamal
- The base of Imam Ali
- The villages of al-Abbas and al-Jala
- Other sites in Al-Bokamal desert
- The neighbourhoods of al-Mayadeen city
- Al-Mazare’ area, which hosts the largest gathering of Iranian forces and their proxy militias in the region, in the countryside of al-Mayadeen
- The villages of Tiba, al-Ashara, Al-Quriya, Mahakan, al-Bolil, al-Jaffra and Ayash warehouses on the outskirts of Deir Ezzor city
- The neighbourhoods of Harabish, al-Rusafa, al-Umal and the 137th Brigade in the city of Deir Ezzor.
- The villages of Hatla and Marat in eastern Euphrates.
The Syrian Observatory would like to point out to the fact that large number of Iranian forces and affiliates are present in civilian and populated areas, west of the Euphrates where military positions and weapons and ammunition depots are located.
According to Syrian Observatory sources, the number of Iranian forces and allied militias in the western Euphrates region is 24,000 to 25,000 fighters, 9,000 of whom are Syrians recruited by Iran through “Shi’aism” proselytising operations and financial incentives, while the rest, nearly 16200 fighters, are of Arab and Asian nationalities.
The names of militias in these areas are numerous with dozens of military formations of Syrian and non-Syrian nationalities, who were recruited by Iran in Syria through the of financial incentives and continuous usage of religion and sectarianism, or those who have been brought from other countries as “mercenaries” to serve Iran’s interests in Syria.
Here is a list of the most prominent military formations:
- The Iraqi Hezbollah
- The Pakistani Zainabiyoun Brigade
- Abu al-Fadl al-Abbas
- The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps
- Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades
- The 47th Brigade
- Haras Al-Qurra
- The Afghan Brigade of Fatimiyoun, which has apparently became Iran’s second powerful military formation in Syria after the Lebanese Hezbollah.