Rebel Syrian army claims capture of Iranian officers


The rebel Free Syrian Army claimed on Friday to have captured five Iranian military officers in the restive city of Homs and urged Tehran to “immediately” withdraw any additional troops it may have in Syria. In a statement, the FSA said the Iranians captured “were working under the orders of the intelligence services of the Syrian air force” and had no valid papers to reside or work in Syria. It did not specify when the officers were arrested and FSA officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
The statement urged Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to admit that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or Pasdaran, were in Syria to assist the regime of Bashar al-Assad in its bid to crush a 10-month popular revolt. “The (Iranian) officers must immediately leave Syrian territory, more specifically by Saturday morning,” the statement said. It added that two Iranian civilians also captured by the FSA would be released as they were employed at a power plant in the central region of Homs, which has become a flashpoint of the revolt against Assad.