BEIRUT — Syria’s government hopes a brutal siege will vanquish rebel holdouts in the city of Aleppo, a key battleground. But Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops aren’t leading the charge.
That task has been taken up by thousands of Shiite militiamen from Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan who are loyal to Iran, a Shiite country and perhaps Assad’s most important ally.
For much of Syria’s civil war, these religiously motivated fighters have reinforced Syria’s badly weakened military. Now, they are playing an increasingly critical role in trying to seize opposition-held eastern Aleppo by coordinating their attacks with government forces and warplanes flown by Russia, another ally of Assad’s.
See more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-syrias-aleppo-shiite-militias-point-to-irans-unparalleled-influence/2016/11/20/2f1a47c2-92cd-11e6-bc00-1a9756d4111b_story.html?postshare=451479739886294&tid=ss_tw