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Iran touts Israel invasion to recruit teenage boys to fight in Syria


Iran has begun to ask its teenage boys to volunteer to fight in Syria in a sign the hard-line Islamic regime’s military is suffering rising casualties in the five-year war and needs a morale boost, an opposition group says.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) released a translated video it says was produced by the Tehran’s Bassij Music House and was shown over several days on state-run television this month.

The selling pitch to youngsters: You will be defending sacred Shiite shrines in Syria and will position yourselves to invade Israel, whose destruction is an Iranian regime priority.

The four-minute clip shows a group of boys in a courtyard, with three of them singing to another boy they are trying to recruit as he watches from a window. The singers are dressed in camouflage and combat boots. On camera, they tie on a cloth headband to complete the warrior look.

“This promotional clip first of all manifests the anti-human nature of the regime which seeks to even mobilize the children of its own loyalists as cannon fodder,” said Shahin Gobadi, an NCRI official based in Paris.

“We monitor the Iranian regime’s state media thoroughly. Our people noticed this on the state media, and then our people were able to download it from one of the regime’s websites.”

Iran is already sending unconventional fighters to Syria to protect its ally, President Bashar Assad.

The BBC reported this month that the regime has rounded up, or recruited, thousands of ethnic Afghans and sent them to Syria. Some quit the battlefield and ended up in refugee streams to Europe.

“The men, who are mainly ethnic Hazaras, are recruited from impoverished and vulnerable migrant communities in Iran, and sent to join a multi-national Shia Muslim militia — in effect a ‘Foreign Legion’ — that Iran has mobilized to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad,” the BBC said.

The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the dominant military force in Iran, has made major commitments to fight wars in Syria and Iraq.

The NCRI said the Guard Corps has taken heavy casualties in battling a range of rebel groups, including the al Qaeda-connected Nusra Front and the Islamic State terror army. At least one prominent Guard general was killed in Syria during the battle for the city of Aleppo.

Tehran contends its troops are only advising the Syrians. The NCRI opposition group says there are 8,000 Iranians in Syria fighting on the government’s side. Outside experts have put the number much lower, at about 2,000.

On Thursday, Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, was turned once again into a major battleground in the civil war. Airstrikes and artillery killed more than 60 people in the past 24 hours, including dozens at a hospital in a rebel-held neighborhood, Aid agencies warn that Aleppo is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster with the collapse of a two-month cease-fire and stalled peace talks.

The intensified violence — by far the worst since the partial cease-fire began — coincides with reports of a military buildup outside Aleppo that many fear is a prelude for a government attempt to force a complete siege of the city’s neighborhoods.

Battle-hardened residents were shocked by the bloodshed. Opposition activists accused the government of carpet-bombing rebel-controlled areas, while Syrian state media said more than 1,000 mortar rounds and rockets were fired at government-held districts, killing 22 people.

( Source )


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