August 15, 2012 Leave a comment
By Alan Elsner, Editor-in-Chief
Washington, Aug. 15 – Iran is training a militia in Syria to defend President Bashar al-Assad’s beleaguered regime against the majority of citizens fighting to overthrow it, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said.
In a Pentagon briefing Tuesday, Panetta said: “There’s now indications that they’re trying to develop or trying to train a militia within Syria to be able to fight on behalf of the regime. So we are seeing a growing presence by Iran and that is of deep concern to us.”
Iran’s interference is adding to the killing in Syria, Panetta said, and “tries to bolster a regime that we think, ultimately, is going to come down.”
Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the 18-month uprising that has led to the deaths of over 20,000 people, most of them civilians slaughtered by the regime, is beginning to wear down the Syrian army.
“I actually think that’s why Iran is stepping in to form this militia, to take some of the pressure off of the Syrian military,” Dempsey said.