The MENA Research and Study Center has obtained information that Iran is transferring members of the Fatimiyoun militias and Brigade 313, foreign fighters who were replaced by local fighters under the supervision of the Russian military police, from the south of Deir Ezzor and Al-Mayadeen to their headquarters in Palmyra and south Damascus.
The locations of those Iranian mercenaries are now administrated by members of al-Qaterji militia, led by Fawaz al-Bashir, and members of the Palestinian Quds Force, supervised by the Russian security company, Wagner.
The militiamen were transferred from positions along the Euphrates River at a distance of 70 km from Deir Ezzor to the east.
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper has quoted unnamed Western sources that “the Iranian tactical withdrawal is attributed to multiple reasons, the most important are the economic crisis in Iran, the developments in Iraq, in addition to the recently intensified Israeli attacks, the reduction of hostilities in Syria and the ongoing Russian pressure.
“Despite identical reports regarding the Iranian militias’ repositioning to different locations of Syria, from Damascus in the south to Deir Ezzor in the east, these moves are considered as tactical ones,” the Western sources note.
The same sources stress that there has been no change in the Iranian policy towards Syria, and that “Iran adopts the strategy of replacing foreign militias with local militias affiliated with it.”
“The situation is similar to what happened in southern Syria after the US-Russian agreement, stating a withdrawal of the non-Syrian forces from the area adjacent to the Jordan border, and the disengagement line in the occupied Golan Heights.”
The US-Russian agreement in 2018 stipulated the withdrawal of Iranian militias to the distance of 140 km east of the Jordanian border and the disengagement line in the Golan. According to the agreement, Iran withdrew 1050 members, 24 rocket launchers and 145 other types of weapons.
On the other hand, the Russian military police deployed, along the Bravo line separating the occupied Golan and Quneitra, called for the return of the international disengagement forces, known as Endof.
Under the agreement, the United Nations announced a gradual redeployment of the Endof in the demilitarized zone, but Iran did not adhere to the terms of the agreement and was present in the region through Syrian militia affiliated with it and sleeper cells in Daraa, Suwayda and Quneitra countryside.
The Israeli newspaper “The Jerusalem Post“ has denied reports concerning an Iranian withdrawal from Syria, confirming that Iran would just repositioning its militias to avoid possible Israeli attacks. This comment came in response to a statement by an official in the Israeli army, who declared a few days ago that Iran would be reducing the number of its militia in Syria for the first time and withdrawing its fighters because of Israeli airstrikes.
“Iranian militia were transferred to the new locations in civilian buses and without weapons for deflecting the attention,” the newspaper said.
Sources on the ground reported a few days ago that fighters from the pro-Iranian al-Montadhar Brigade could have arrived in Deir Ezzor from Iraq.
It is noteworthy that the Israeli airstrikes on Iranian positions in Syria have been intensified recently as part of the campaign against Iran, the Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett announced.
He underlined that “Israel will increase its campaign against Iran in Syria. We have moved from the stage of preventing Iran’s entrenchment in Syria to expelling it from Syria, and we will not stop”.