Fighting in Syria
Fighting in SyriaIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Iran has publicly confirmed that its government has sent elite Revolutionary Guards to support the troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in that country's civil war.

Commander Gneral Salar Abnoush told a group of volunteer trainees during a speech delivered Monday, “We are involved in fighting every aspect of a war – a military one in Syria, and a cultural one as well.”

His remarks, reported by the Daneshjoo News Agency, made it clear Iran has committed its military might to aiding government troops in clashes with rebels in Syria's savage civil war.

"Today, Syria is resisting as our front's surrogate, and we all have a responsibility to support it and not to let the line fall,” said Mullah Hussein Taeb, according to the Iranian semi-official FARS news agency. It was Taeb, “No. 2” to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini and Revolutionary Guards' intelligence head, who was responsible for squelching the anti-government protests in Iran in 2009.

Up to this point, analysts were only certain that Iran had been sending tactical and financial support. It was also known that Syrian cyber police were being trained by Iranian experts.

Iranian opposition groups said that one of the Iranians that were kidnapped in Syria earlier this month was a senior officer in Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

The general, Abd a-Din Huram, was one of 48 Iranians captured by Syrian rebels. According to the opposition groups, Huram is responsible for Revolutionary Guard operations in the Azerbaijan region of Iran. The rebels holding the Iranians threatened to execute them unless the Syrian government freed hundreds of prisoners.