The ground offensive around Aleppo is believed to have been planned by General Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the elite branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who reportedly traveled earlier this month from Latakia with Russian military commanders to al-Safira to plot the early phases of the offensive.
had been a frequent sight in Iraq, where he
had been advising Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State group, according to a Washington Post report Monday.
But with the war there stagnated, a shift of the commander, as well as Quds Force
members and Iraqi militiamen, to Syria
appears to signal a change in Iranian priorities, the article stated.
U.S. Senator John McCain told VOA's Persian news service Tuesday that Soleimani was behind sending copper-tipped IEDs into Iraq.