US-Backed Shia Fighters Turn to Assad – Reports

© AFP 2023 / ABD DOUMANY Rebel fighters in Syria
Rebel fighters in Syria - Sputnik International
Three Shia divisions, who fought Daesh in Iraq, are fighting now in the south and south-east of the province of Aleppo supporting the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Daily Beast quoted US officials as saying.

A soldier of the Syrian Army, which began an assault on the town of Osman in Syria's province of Daraa - Sputnik International
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Several Iraqi Shia divisions, previously backed by US are battling now in Syria on behalf of Bashar al-Assad against Syrian militias backed by US forces, according to the Daily Beast citing two representatives of the US Department of Defense.

"At least three Shia divisions involved in successful battles against ISIS in Iraq-the Badr Brigade, Kata'ib Hezbollah, and the League of the Righteous-have acknowledged taking casualties in fighting in south and southeast Aleppo province," the statement said.

The US military confirmed that "they believe… at least one" unit of the Badr Brigade is fighting in southern Aleppo alongside other Iraqi militia groups" supported by "Russian airpower and Iranian troops-and all of whom are bolstering President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Arab Army."

Researcher Philip Smith of the University of Maryland also told journalists that Iran and Russian air forces support rebels especially in Aleppo. In particular, it is known that the brigade "Asaib Ahl al-Haq"(the "League of the Virtuous") is backed by the Iranian military.

Residents of Nubul and al-Zahraa, along with forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, celebrate after the siege of their towns was broken, northern Aleppo countryside, Syria, in this handout picture provided by SANA on February 4, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Another brigade of Shia militias "Kata'ib Hezbollah" is a Shia militant group, which in the past had actively participated in battles against the international coalition led by the United States during the Iraq war.

According to the UN, the ongoing armed conflict in Syria claimed the lives of 220,000 people since March 2011. Government troops are confronted with a gang of militants belonging to various armed groups. The most active terrorist groups are Daesh and al-Nusra front forces.

There is no united front to fight Daesh — Syrian and Iraqi governmental forces, the US-led coalition (so far limited to airstrikes) as well as the Kurds, Lebanese and Iraqi Shia rebels are all using different means and tactics. Adding to the Syrian Army's anti-terror effort is Russia's ongoing air campaign in Syria which was launched on September 30, when more than fifty Russian warplanes, including Su-24M, Su-25 and Su-34 jets, commenced precision airstrikes on Daesh and Al-Nusra Front targets in Syria at the behest of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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