Iran Daily: Facing Losses in Syria, Revolutionary Guards Turn to Propaganda

EAST KURDISTAN (IRAN) – May 09 – 2016 – By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – Facing defeats and casualties in Syria’s civil war, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps turned to propaganda on Sunday to present “victory” to audiences at home and abroad.For the first time, the Revolutionary Guards acknowledged significant losses last week.

A spokesman said 13 troops were killed and 21 wounded as Syria’s rebels and the jihadists of Jabhat al-Nusra captured Khan Tuman, a key town near the Aleppo-to-Damascus highway.Iranian media have reported the deaths of more than 250 commanders and troops since last October when Iran escalated its military intervention, accompanying Russian airstrikes and leading ground offensives. However, the reports have largely been based on coerage of funerals rather than any Guards announcement of multiple casualties.On Sunday, the Guards tried to turn attention away from their losses by creating stories in their outlet Fars News about the battle for Khan Tuman, about 12 km (7 miles) from Aleppo city.

Fars claimed that “Al-Qaeda-affiliated websites confirmed…that 30 more of their militants were killed and 12 others were wounded” in fighting with forces supporting Syria’s Assad regime. It said more than 100 missiles were fired on rebel positions, which “forced a large number of Jaish al-Adl terrorists to withdraw from the region”.

In fact, despite Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes and a possible ground attack, there were no such reports of any losses among rebels or Jabhat al-Nusra. Nor was there a withdrawal, especially of Jaish al-Adl — which is an insurgent group based on the Iranian-Pakistani border, far from Syria.Instead, Syria’s rebel bloc Jaish al-Fateh said that it killed more than 50 pro-Assad fighters attacking Khan Tuman on Sunday, and that it destroyed four armored vehicles. Still, Fars presses ahead, “The Syrian Army announced a few minutes ago that its troops and their allies…seized control over more territories near Khan Tuman following several hours of non-stop battle.”There is no such announcement on the English-language site of Syrian State media this morning.