Russia seeks to remove Iran’s influence over Syria army
Russia is working to reform the Syrian army and end Iran’s influence over it by appointing and promoting pro-regime officers and excluding Iranian allies, the American Middle East Policy Institute has revealed.
In a study published this week, the organisation said that the war has destroyed most of the capabilities of the Syrian army through splits, military attacks, assassinations and desertions, leading to a significant decline in armoured mechanical capabilities.
The study pointed out that after its direct intervention in the war in 2015, Russia, which controls most of the Syrian territories, has started the restructuring and reformation of the Syrian army through the provision of weapons and recruitment operations and the integration of some militias into the army.
Russia, the institute said, ” is currently making major changes in the senior command of the armed forces. Since the end of last year, there have been major promotions and changes in command centres in three groups of armed forces, most of which have focused on the Republican Guard and special units.”
“During that period, more than 100 senior officers were promoted and transferred to very sensitive positions, while the pro-Iranian officers were ignored. Russia is likely to seek to recruit and install officers who follow Moscow’s vision of restructuring the military to significantly enhance its capabilities and improve the performance of its main combat units.”
The study also pointed out that the restructuring operation mainly includes elite units in the 4th Division, described as having suffered heavily during the war.
On 30 September 2015, the Russian military intervention in Syria changed the balance of power on the ground. Moscow used its military power to prevent the fall of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who faced a peaceful popular protest calling for his downfall.