Iran has dispatched hundreds of ground troops to Syria to fight alongside the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
A full scale war is unfolding in Syria, with a ground offensive being planned to coincide with Russian air strikes, according to Lebanese sources.
“The (Russian) air strikes will in the near future be accompanied by ground advances by the Syrian army and its allies,” one of the sources told Reuters.
“It is possible that the coming land operations will be focused in the Idlib and Hama countryside,” the source added.
Lebanese Hezbollah troops will also join the Iranian forces, the sources note, as well as Iraqis.
The goal is to retake areas in northwestern Syria that fell to Western backed rebels earlier in the year.
“The vanguard of Iranian ground forces began arriving in Syria: soldiers and officers specifically to participate in this battle. They are not advisors … we mean hundreds with equipment and weapons. They will be followed by more,” the second source said.
The addition of Iranian troops into the fray is sure to rile Israel. Israeli Likud Minister Yuval Steinitz reportedly warned the United States, Russia and other world powers that Israel will not tolerate Iranian forces near its border, the Jerusalem Times reported on Tuesday.
In August it was reported that Israel is preparing for a possible ground invasion of Syria.
The Israelis began large division-scale training in the occupied Golan Heights in mid-August under the pretext ISIS may invade and also citing the presence of Hezbollah fighters in Syria.
Russian airstrikes began in Syria on Wednesday after their parliament approved the military action.
Obama’s Secretary of Defense, Ashton Carter, told the media a visit by a Russian General an hour prior to the bombing in Syria was “unprofessional.”
The Russian General informed the U.S. the Russian military would begin bombing in an hour.
The Russian Defense Ministry claimed that it struck eight Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) targets in Syria, adding that “civilian infrastructure” was avoided during the operations.
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