Iran has supplied Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis) with technical expertise and know-how, a spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on September 22. However, the general claimed that Yemeni forces “have learned how to produce missiles, drones and weapons in Yemen on their own” and Iran has no military presence in the region. Shekarchi described what Iran is doing across the region as “spiritual and advisory presence”.
“Countries of the resistance front have armies and forces themselves. We provide them with advisory help. In order to share our experience with the people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, our skilled forces go there and assist them, but this is the people and armies of these countries who stand against the enemies in practice,” the general stated.
Apparently, it was Iranian “spiritual” power which helped the Houthis to regularly pound targets inside Saudi Arabia, including the Kingdom’s capital and key oil infrastructure objects, with missiles and drones, despite the years of Saudi-led air bombing campaigns against Houthi forces and the land and maritime blockade of the areas controlled by them.
Iran also denies reports of weapon and equipment supplies to the Houthis. This means missile components must have appeared in the Houthis’ hands and their missile and combat drone arsenal been expanded thanks to some unrevealed technological breakthrough behind the scenes.
Thus, the military cooperation deal officially signed between the Houthi government and Iran in 2019 was just a formality to highlight the sides’ unity on the frontline in the battle against ‘Zionist plots’ in the region, which became especially obvious in 2020 when the Houthi leadership, alongside with Iran, appeared to be among the most vocal critics of the UAE-Israel and Bahrain-Israel normalization deals. According to them, these developments are a part of the wider Zionist campaign against Middle Eastern nations.
Meanwhile in Syria, sources loyal to the Turkish-backed terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) claim that its members had killed a Russian special forces operator on the contact line near Kafra Nabl in southern Idlib.
According to militants and their supporters, they repelled an attack of pro-government forces there inflicting multiple casualties on the Syrian Army and its allies. Photos showing the equipment of the alleged Russian special forces operator were also released by the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham media wing.
Pro-government sources did not report any notable clashes in the area last night or active operations involving Russian units there. According to them, the incident involving the Russian special forces operator may have happened several weeks (or even months) ago. Hayat Tahrir al-Sham and their Turkish sponsors probably opted to use the obtained photos as propaganda to create a media victory in September to compensate for the losses and destruction caused by the Russian bombing campaign against the terrorist infrastructure in Idlib.
Details of the incident and the fate of the alleged Russian special forces operator involved in it remain unclear. In general, the Russian Defense Ministry reports all casualties among Russian service members deployed. Further, the militants did not show the body of the supposedly killed fighter. Therefore, if the incident really did take place, the Russian soldier most likely received injures and was then evacuated.
Meanwhile, the Russian Aerospace Forces continued bombing terrorist infrastructure in the Idlib region. Therefore, al-Qaeda and its Turkish sponsors are forced to console themselves with media victories.