Reports: Iran forms 'Liberation Army' to deploy abroad

Fighters to be drawn from local population where Iran is involved in conflict, says a retired Iranian commander.

    Correction: 20/08/2016: A previous version of this story identified Mohammad Ali Al Falaki as the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). That was incorrect. Mohammad Ali Al Falaki is a retired IRGC commander.

    Iran has reportedly formed what it calls the "Liberation Army" whose units will be deployed in Arab countries, according to a news website.

    Currently, Iran is involved in a number of conflicts where Shia and Sunni Muslims are locked in a power struggle, notably Syria and Yemen.

    Mohammad Ali Al Falaki, a retired commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,  said in an interview published on Thursday by Mashregh News that Iran is fighting on three fronts: Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    Iran "created the Liberation Army in Syria under the leadership of Qassem Soleimani", said Falaki, who leads forces in Syria.

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    Soleimani is the head of the Revolutionary Guard Corps' elite Quds Force.

    It was not clear how large the so-called "Liberation Army" would be.

    "The forces that belong to this army are not Iranians only. In any place where there is a fight, we organise and supply the army from the people of the area," said Falaki.

    With regard to Syria, he said: "It is not wise for our Iranian forces to be directly thrown into war in Syria. Therefore our role should be limited to train, supply, and prepare the Syrians to fight in their areas."

    In January, Al Jazeera reported that Iran was recruiting tens of thousands of Afghan Shia fighters to step up the country's efforts in the Syrian war, offering them salaries to join the war on the side of the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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