The Syrian Arab Army (SAA), Hezbollah, and the National Defense Forces (NDF) have received a huge boost in military personnel recently, as over 1,500 Iraqi and Pakistani Shi’i fighters have made the journey from rural Latakia to the Aleppo Governorate’s southern countryside in order to participate in the long-awaited offensive against both the Islamist rebels and the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).

According to a military source inside the Latakia Governorate, the Syrian Armed Forces and their allies are preparing to launch a large-scale assault on the ‘Azzan Mountains (southern Aleppo), the Deir Hafer Plains (eastern Aleppo), and the Aleppo Infantry Academy (northern Aleppo) after a lack of offensive activity in the last ten months.

Recently, a large convoy of Hezbollah fighters from Al-Zabadani have arrived inside the Aleppo Governorate after spending two months on the offensive the aforementioned resort-city in western Syria; these soldiers from the Lebanese Resistance were said to have taken-up positions along the Syrian Government’s only supply highway in southern Aleppo.

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Photos of both Iraqi Shi’i fighters and Hezbollah soldiers have recently surfaced from the Aleppo Governorate, further confirming their large presence inside this economic hub in northern Syria; this also marks the first time that foreign Shi’i fighters (save Hezbollah) are openly participating in a large-scale government offensive.

Iraqi and Pakistani Shi’i fighters have been predominately concentrated in southern Damascus, where they have guarded the Sayyida Zeinab and the Sukayna Bint Hussein Shrines from the anti-government militants.

Earlier this week, western publications reported that many Iranian soldiers have arrived in the Latakia Governorate recently; however, this news is incorrect, as the Iranian Revolutionary Guardsmen (IRG) have been stationed in the northeastern countryside of Latakia for over five months now.

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