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Tehran drags Moscow deeper into Syria

The war in Syria is hitting Iran ever closer to home, prompting Tehran to push for closer coordination with Russia, even as leaders on both sides complain of a lack of confidence and tactical misalignments.
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For Iran, the ongoing war in Syria is no longer a matter of regional security. The conflict now has direct effects and implications for Iran's national security. This perspective is clear in the daily statements coming from Tehran, from the images of slain Iranian soldiers and high-ranking officers laid to rest in the Iranian capital and most recently the appointment of Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as military and security coordinator of the joint cooperation group on Syria with Moscow and Damascus.

Shamkhani's appointment came in the wake of the recent summit that brought together the defense ministers of Syria, Iran and Russia in Tehran. It was clear from the meeting that the three countries are keen to boost their cooperation after having suffered some major setbacks in past weeks. These losses have been blamed on a lack of coordination and major differences over objectives, according to a Syrian official who spoke to Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. The Syrian official said, “Russia, as a major world power, was looking at the scene from its position … and thought that giving peace a chance should have saved a lot of lives. The other side — the United States, mainly — wasn’t serious about its commitments. Therefore, the attacks by militants were more brutal than before and this caused some losses in the field.”

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