Iran takes command of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. @JoshRogin

Nov 21, 2017, 08:02 AM

11-21-2017 (Photo:
English: Al Qaim, Iraq (Jan. 11, 2005) - U.S. Marines fill in a crater that was created as a result of a land mine explosion along a roadway in Al Qaim, Iraq. The Marines are deployed with Combat Service Support Company 119, Combat Service and Support Battalion 7. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. William L. Dubose III (RELEASED) Date 11 January 2005) Twitter: @BatchelorShow

Iran takes command of Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. @JoshRogin

While the Trump administration celebrates a new deal meant to freeze the battlefield in southern Syria, the Assad regime and Iran are preparing for the next phase of the long-running war, in which they will attempt to conquer the rest of the country. Whether Iran succeeds depends largely on whether the United States acknowledges and then counters that strategy.

Tehran is pouring thousands of fighters into newly acquired territories and building military bases. Although U.S.-supported forces hold territories east of the Euphrates River in Syria’s southeast, as well as along the borders of Israel and Jordan in the southwest, Iran has stated its intention to help Bashar al-Assad retake all of Syria.

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani has been recently spotted in the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zour, showing how high a priority it is for Iran to take the oil-rich land nearby. Soleimani has also been spotted near the town of Abu Kamal, which sits just across the border from the Iraqi city of Qaim and is the last piece of the land bridge Iran seeks to establish from Tehran to Beirut.