July 22, 2016 | Quoted by Barbara Opall-Rome - Defense News
Iran Deploys Hezbollah-Trained Afghan Sniper Brigade in Syria
An Israeli intelligence source confirmed Monday that a new unit of Afghan snipers trained by Lebanese-based Hezbollah and financed by Iran is now operating beyond its northern border on behalf of Syrian President Bashar Assad.
In a July 18 interview, the source said the sniper unit – part of the Afghan Fatemiyoun Brigade – is one of several additional groups of special forces that are being deployed in the fight against the Islamic State organization, also known by its Arabic acronym Da’esh.
Another Tasnim report from July 12, translated by Amir Toumaj, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in an account published by the online Long War Journal, noted that “Hundreds of special Fatemiyoun snipers have been deployed to defend sacred shrines across Syria and have joined Fatemiyoun combat units.”
According to Toumaj’s translation, “additional groups of special Afghan forces with advanced training in combat, commando capabilities, guerilla warfare, anti-armor missiles, shoulder-launched missiles, etc. are expected to join” Fatemiyoun ranks.
“The notable point is that the special Fatemiyoun forces have been trained under skilled Afghan instructors who themselves have completed training in special courses under the supervision of skilled Hezbollah forces,” noted the Tasnim report.
According to Toumaj’s research of Iranian media, the IRGC expanded the ranks of Fatemiyoun forces from a brigade to a full division last year; and some 380 have been killed thus far in Syria.
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