Syrian Opposition-Affiliated Website: Iran-Backed Militias In Eastern Syria Camouflaging Positions To Avoid Israeli Airstrikes

October 15, 2023

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On October 14, 2023, the Syrian opposition-affiliated Eye of Euphrates website published an "exclusive" report[1] about unusual activity of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) forces in Al-Bukamal, east of Deir Al-Zour. The report quotes sources claiming that the purpose of the forces' activity is "camouflage" and "concealment," and that the forces have been engaged in this practice for some time in all the regions they control.

According to the sources, the IRGC forces have removed all flags, markings, and inscriptions that reveal their identity from buildings in their headquarters, keeping only the flag of the Al-Assad regime, in an attempt to create the impression that the positions were handed over to the Syrian regime's 17th Division, while in fact they still have "clandestine influence" in them. The sources added that these measures were taken as part of the preparations of Iranian militias to avoid airstrikes that might reveal their identity, especially in light of the "sensitive situation" in the region, following the shellings of the Damascus and Aleppo airports by Israel as part of the war with Hamas in Gaza.

The report attached a 26-second video showing the regime's flag on a checkpoint of the IRGC in Al-Bukamal.

On October 11, Arab and Syrian opposition-affiliated media outlets reported that the IRGC and other Iran-backed militias in Eastern Syria had begun to recruit new operatives to send to Lebanon, and even to "Palestine," with the aim of integrating them into the fighting against Israel.[2] On October 9, several Arab media outlets reported on a heightened level of preparedness on the part of Hizbullah and other Iran-backed militias in Syria in the event that the fighting between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip reaches the Syrian arena.[3]

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