The recent reports released by AFP that Iran has reduced its military footprint in Syria are inaccurate. Our sources indicate that the Quds Force has grown its presence in the country and altered its operational method within Syrian territory. Prior to the recent assassination of Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Zahedi and six Iranian officers at the Iranian consulate in Damascus, Israeli strikes in Syria were relentless and devastating. This event, which occurred on April 1, marked a turning point following a series of targeted killings and strikes throughout Syria. These actions exposed the leadership of the Quds Force, a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Reports suggesting a significant shift in the Iranian role in Syria are misleading. The changes made are primarily tactical, such as adjusting the locations of Quds Force officers, enhancing secrecy in movements, and modifying relationships with Syrian regime affiliates. Iranian sources claim that leaks about their presence in Syria to Western agencies, who then share information with the Israeli Mossad, have prompted these adjustments. Tactical modifications also include reducing the number of officers and experts present in Syria simultaneously, as well as anticipating potential escalation in Lebanon. The rules of engagement have been revised following the consulate incident. As the Israeli military plans to launch its operation in Rafah, Lebanon may become a focal point for conflict. The intensification of attacks against Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Quds Force members on Lebanese soil are expected. Meanwhile, Iran is likely to escalate its activities to bolster its support for Gaza and Hamas, shifting focus away from Rafah itself. The Syrian arena is poised to remain a hotbed of conflict, as Iran shows no signs of diminishing its presence in the country. Syria represents a crucial geopolitical investment for Iran, serving as the linchpin of its Levant strategy. Should Iran withdraw from Syria, its entire expansionist agenda would crumble. While Hizbullah is often viewed as Iran’s flagship in the Levant, Syria serves as the backbone of Tehran’s regional ambitions. The idea that Iran will reduce its military footprint in Syria is wishful thinking. Syria plays a pivotal role in Iran’s regional strategy, linking its eastern borders to the Mediterranean Sea. This strategic corridor is essential for Iran’s influence in the region, making any substantial withdrawal from Syria highly unlikely. —Ali Hamada (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)

Source » themedialine