Iran has been sending large quantities of weapons to the regime of Bashar Assad in Syria using civilian aircraft, an intelligence report obtained on Wednesday by the Reuters news agency indicates.
According to the report, the Iranians have been moving the weapons through Iraqi airspace to help Assad fight the rebel forces in the country.
The report states that "Planes are flying from Iran to Syria via Iraq on an almost daily basis, carrying IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps) personnel and tens of tons of weapons to arm the Syrian security forces and militias fighting against the rebels."
The U.S. Treasury has said that the weapons are being transferred by some 117 aircraft, some of which are owned by Iranian companies Iran Air and YAS Air.
Earlier this month, the U.S. accused the Iraqis of turning a blind eye to Iranian arms shipments to Syria via their airspace.
The Iraqi leadership responded to the accusations by claiming that they had received assurances from the Iranians that the planes are merely transporting food and other humanitarian assistance to help the Syrian population.
Recently, Iran publicly confirmed that its government has sent elite Revolutionary Guards to support Assad’s troops in that country's civil war.
Commander General Salar Abnoush told a group of volunteer trainees during a speech, “We are involved in fighting every aspect of a war – a military one in Syria, and a cultural one as well.”
Western intelligence officials told the British Telegraph earlier this month that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has personally sanctioned the dispatch of the experienced officers to ensure that the Assad regime survives the threat to its survival.
According to the report, Iran has also shipped hundreds of tons of military equipment, including guns, rockets, and shells to Syria through the regular air corridor that has been established between Damascus and Tehran.