After more than eight years of war and bloodshed in Syria, the Iranian presence in the nation is at an all-time high, warned the top Syrian opposition figure, Fox News reported.
“Iranian influence is getting bigger and bigger. They are the ones controlling the State of Syria, the Army of Syria, the security of Syria and are infiltrating the society such as the schools and religious sites,” Nasr Al-Hariri, president of the Syrian Negotiation Commission (SNC), told Fox News following the U.N. General Assembly last week.
“While the air cover is being provided to the government by Russia, the troops on the ground are controlled by Iran,” he pointed out.
Most disturbing, Hariri underscored, is that many who oppose the government and have been rendered little choice but return to their broken lives and homes are now aligning with Iranian militias for survival.
“They see the allies have left us alone inside Syria, so they can only protect themselves this way, and Iran is giving them some incentives to join,” he explained. “They get salaries between $300-600 a month, and a security card to go all over the country without being interrupted or harmed at Syrian regime checkpoints. This is their protection, and it is very dangerous. If the situation continues like this, the number of recruited Iranian people will gradually increase.”
In April, the Syrian government, backed by Russian air support, launched an intensive campaign to reclaim Idlib, the last enduring opposition stronghold. But after four months and countless lives and injuries later, the majority of the region was still out of their reach.