Chief of General Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Bagheri arrived in Damascus on Sunday at the head of a delegation to attend a meeting with Syrian and Iraqi military officials.
Political sources in Damascus told Asharq Al-Awsat that the meeting would discuss securing the Tehran-Damascus routes for road transportation, safeguard the Syrian-Iraqi border and open the two crossings of al-Waleed and al-Qaim.
The sources said Iran is working on activating the transportation routes in Syria, considered a priority after the US imposed sanctions on Tehran five months ago.
Iran’s Fars news agency reported that Bagheri’s trip also aims to develop a military defensive cooperation and to visit the frontlines and Iranian troops deployed in Eastern Ghouta and Deir Ezzor.
Bagheri was quoted as saying that the purpose of his visit to Syria was to participate in the tripartite summit with Syria and Iraq to coordinate efforts on the fight against terrorist groups in the region.
Meanwhile, Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari downplayed on Sunday his country’s losses in Syria compared to those of the United States in the region.
“The enemy has not been successful in the region and all its plots and operations have ended with failure in the advantage of the Iranian Revolution and the Resistance Front,” he said in an interview.
The General defended Iran’s presence in Syria and Iraq, saying his forces had recruited 200,000 fighters in both countries in the past eight years.
He said Iran had deployed 100,000 combatants against al-Nusra Front, ISIS and the Syrian opposition.
“Iranian forces also moved to Iraq where they recruited 100,000 fighters from the Popular Mobilization Forces,” Jafari said.