Iran has sent more security forces to help Syria’s war against the growing protest movement while tanks have surrounded two more cities this weekend and the death toll continues to rise.
A new YouTube video smuggled out of Syria shows Syrian President Bashar Assad’s troops brutally beating two unarmed civilians.
American officials have charged that Iran has sent more military “trainers” and advisers to teach Syrian troops methods that Iranian riot police and Revolutionary Guards used to suppress the protest movement following the allegedly fixed re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009. Hundreds were killed and thousands “disappeared” or were jailed before the Islamic Republic silenced the demonstrations.
Assad has used similar tactics in the continuing stand-off between determined demonstrators and the shoot-to-kill policy of Syrian soldiers, while foreign journalists have been banned from the country.
The Iranians are part of the Revolutionary Guards' Al Quds unit, which is responsible for operations outside the country.
Mona Yacoubian, a former Middle East expert with the State Department's intelligence division, was quoted in The Washington Post as saying that “Syria is Iran's most important inroad into the Arab world, and its perch on the front line with Israel.”
Syrian secret police and soldiers killed at least nine more protesters Friday and Saturday, including three in a Damascus suburb as Assad desperately tries to keep the demonstrations from overrunning the capital.