Skip to main content

Russia, Iran in tug of war over Syria military reform

Moscow and Tehran have disparate views on how the Syrian military should be reformed.
Syrian Army soldiers loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad forces are seen in Idlib, Syria January 21, 2018. Picture taken January 21, 2018. SANA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. - RC1DEF904AD0

The ongoing military assault in Idlib — spearheaded by the Syrian army and supported by Russia — may be the first significant military operation in which pro-Iranian militant groups have not taken part. The main attacking units of the government forces are pro-Russian structures within the Syrian army: the Tiger Forces division, led by Suheil al-Hassan, and Zayd Salih’s 5th Volunteer Assault Corps.

The absence of pro-Iranian troops in the fighting zone in Idlib entails a number of new speculations over the controversies between Russia and Iran in Syria.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.