The recent casualties from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have came as no surprise to their Central Command, as many more are expected in the coming weeks after several soldiers made the arduous journey from their unofficial base in Jabal Al-Akrad (mountain range in northeastern Latakia) to the volatile Khanasser-Aleppo Highway.
For five months, the soldiers from the IRGC have sat idly in the Syrian Arab Army’s Special Forces base in Slunfeh, Latakia, while they awaited orders from their Central Command to carry out operations in northern Syria; however, as of recently, the large mobilization of Iraqi paramilitary from Harakat Al-Nujaba, Kataeb Hezbollah, and Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-‘Abbas has made this military compound rather crowded.
With the Russian Federation’s military escalation boosting the Syrian Arab Army’s offensive activity, the need for boots on the ground has become a great need for the Syrian Armed Forces’ Central Command – enter Iraqi and Iranian fighters.
Earlier this month, a large convoy of Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani paramilitary arrived to the heavily fortified city of Al-Safira in southeast Aleppo, they were later joined by several waves of Iraqi paramilitary convoys (recently Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-‘Abbas); these fighters were under the direct command of Major General Qassem Suleimani (commander of the elite “Quds Force”) and his council of military officers.
The last wave of reinforcements to enter the Aleppo Governorate before the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) cutoff the Khanasser-Ithriya Highway were IRGC soldiers – they were preceded by hundreds of others from the same unit.
According to a senior officer from the Syrian Arab Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, the coalition of Iranian, Iraqi, Hezbollah, Afghani, and Pakistani fighters are preparing for a large-scale offensive, but the date and location of this assault has been kept quiet among the military personnel.
Due to the fear of possible intelligence leaks, the offensive’s contingency has been kept from most military personnel, including high ranking officers inside the Syrian Arab Army.
The IRGC soldiers are likely to take the advisor role for this offensive, as most of the military personnel are officers and do not number large enough to carry out their own assault.