A leading Iranian general attended a meeting in July where a plan for the latest Syrian assault by Russia was mooted, according to Reuters. Major General Qassem Soleimani is said to have visited Moscow to brief the Russians on the latest losses by the Syrian regime to rebels, and how to turn those losses into victory. This new revelation is particularly plausible considering that some analysts had already suggested the arrival of Iranian special forces just days after Moscow-launched airstrikes in Syria appeared well-timed. Soleimani is the commander of an elite combat unit in Iranian's armed forces known as the Quds Force.
The meeting in Moscow had Suleiman emphasize to the Russians how badly the situation had deteriorated in Syria, and that rebels were on the verge of advancing to the coastal area that is home to the only Russian naval base in the Mediterranean, according to Yahoo News. Allegedly, Soleimani had a map during that meeting, which he used to drive his point home to Moscow. "Soleimani put the map of Syria on the table. The Russians were very alarmed and felt matters were in steep decline and that there were real dangers to the regime. The Iranians assured them there is still the possibility to reclaim the initiative," said a senior official who was privy to that meeting. "At that time, Soleimani played a role in assuring them that we haven't lost all the cards."
The Daily Star has also reported that this meeting could be an indication that Tehran and Moscow had been discussing a joint intervention in Syria for several months secretly. Russia, a bosom buddy of Damascus since the Cold War-era, has supported Damascus since the war begun by supplying arms. Also, on the diplomatic front, only recently did Moscow commence airstrikes. Iran, on the other hand, has trained and funded militias to fight on the Syrian regime's side since the start of the war.