The chief of staff of the Iranian military, Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, arrived in Damascus on April 30 to assume direct command of the Iranian, Syrian and Hizballah forces fighting in Syria, DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report. His arrival showed Iran has significantly stepped up its military involvement in Syria.

Sources close to Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said May 1 in Tehran that the general arrived in Damascus “to personally supervise the battles and the borders that were determined.” The sources did not specify which battles he would command or who had set the borders. They also did not say whether the borders referred to those of the war raging in Syria, or the country’s sovereign borders. FULL REPORT