The Obama administration is making the case that Iran is drawing down its elite fighting force from Syria in an effort to allay fears that Tehran is using its powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria to strengthen its influence across the Middle East. Yet the Iranian government said Monday it has dispatched commandos to the war and it is still taking high-ranking casualties.
Secretary of State John Kerry, who is deeply involved in trying to broker a political solution to end the five-year-old civil war between President Bashar Assad and rebels, told Congress in late February that Iran was recalling its IRGC forces from Syria.
“On Iran, let me just inform everybody here that the IRGC has actually pulled its troops back from Syria,” Kerry told the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “pulled a significant number of troops out. Their presence is actually reduced in Syria.”