Russia has helped Iran deliver weapons into Syria twice a day over the past 10 days, western intelligence sources told Fox News on Wednesday.
According to the sources, Russian cargo planes transported the weapons. The planes were spotted earlier this month on the tarmac at the Russian air base in Latakia, Syria’s primary port city, according to Fox News.
The flights are not registered, and are in breach of two United Nations Security Council resolutions which impose an arms embargo on Iran.
The increased Russian transport of Iranian weapons is being coordinated by Qassem Soulimeini, the head of the Iranian Al-Quds force who was recently spotted in Syria addressing Iranian military officers and members of Hezbollah, the network reported.
Also reportedly involved in the transport are President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Soleimani was reported to have met with these two men in Moscow recently, a report which Russia vehemently denied.
According to the Fox News report, an Iranian civilian airline, Mahan Air, is flying military personnel into Syria several times each day from Tehran to Latakia.
Both Iran and Russia are close allies of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad. Near the start of the Syrian civil war, it was reported Iran’s former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally sanctioned the dispatch of officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to Syria to fight alongside Assad’s troops.
However, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister recently denied that his country had fighters on the ground in the Syrian conflict, claiming the Islamic Republic only provides “advice on fighting terrorism” to the Syrians.
Reports on the transport of Iranian weapons came on the day that Iran confirmed that its foreign minister will join his counterparts from Russia, the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia at talks on Syria.
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister later expressed doubts about Russia and Iran’s seriousness in reaching a political solution to the war in Syria, saying the talks in Vienna would test the two.