The news media has focused on Russia increasing its military power in Syria. Iran, however, has been doing the same in recent months, albeit with more subtlety.
During the past year, officers and soldiers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps reinforced territory valuable to the Syrian government — in particular Hama Governorate. The countryside surrounding Hama contains supply chains that connect Aleppo, the country’s largest city; Homs, a former rebel stronghold and current government one; and Latakia, the heartland of the Syrian’s government’s base of support.
The Syrian opposition has ousted Syrian troops from Idlib Governorate, just north of Hama, and hopes to advance on these supply chains. Tehran knows very well that to keep its Syrian Pres. Bashar Al Assad in power, it must keep his army fighting in Hama.