Iran-Backed Militias Dress Up Like Syrians to Trick Israel

Militia fighters linked to Iran have been dressing up in Syrian army uniforms to travel across the Middle East's warzones without being targeted by Israel, according to reports.

As Israel and Russia allegedly hammered out an agreement to ensure that fighters linked to Iran do not operate near Israel's border, Tehran announced last week that its fighters aren't going anywhere because they have permission from the Syrian regime to operate in the country. But instead of facing off against Israel's military, who has been pummeling Iranian targets in Syria with strikes for weeks, the Iranian-linked fighters have reportedly been switching uniforms with troops linked to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in an attempt to avoid attacks and make the Israelis believe the Iranians left the border region. The move appears to be a deliberate attempt by the Syrian regime to trick Israel, who is insisting that Iran should not gain a permanent foothold in Syria.

Israel's military, the Israeli Defense Force, has conducted extensive research on Iran's plans to occupy more land in the country.

"One of Iran's major aspirations in the Middle East is the completion of a land bridge, or overland route, from its own borders to the Mediterranean Sea. If completed, this path would cover at least 800 miles of territory, including the Tigris and Euphrates valleys and the deserts of Iraq and Syria. It would even reach the edge of the Golan Heights and the Israeli border," a report from the IDF indicated.

"General [Qasem] Soleimani is responsible for the implementation of this plan and has made headway by securing numerous key strongholds along two potential routes. The success of this project would give Iran near-complete freedom of movement to transfer arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as to other proxies in the region," the report continued, referencing a senior military officer from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Further reports detail Iran's extensive infrastructure projects in Syria, including the construction of drone control rooms, training centers and military headquarters, among other infrastructure projects. Iran is invested in Syria's future, and has regularly participated in international meetings with countries like Russia and Turkey to discuss the future of Damascus. Some analysts said this group of countries is planning ways to divide Syria and carve out economic spheres of influence when the fighting comes to an end. Nevertheless, Russia has recently appeared more willing to discuss options and strike a deal with Israel as well.