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Iran-backed militias remove Iran flags from Syria bases, report says

May 9, 2023 at 8:59 pm

A Syrian boy holds the Iranian flag as a truck carrying aid provided by Iran arrives in Syria on 20 September 2017 [AFP PHOTO/LOUAI BESHARA/Getty]

Iran-backed militias in Syria have reportedly begun removing Iranian flags and banners from their bases in the country, only days after the Arab League readmitted the Syrian regime back into the fold.

According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), militias backed by and linked to Iran have started removing flags, pictures and banners of the country and its regional proxies from their bases and facilities in recent days.

Groups such as Liwa Zeinabiyoun and Liwa Fatemiyoun have been removing those Iranian flags and banners of prominent Iran-backed figures, particularly from the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin in Syria’s eastern Deir Ez-Zor province and Palmyra in the western Homs‎ province. They were reportedly replaced with the internationally-recognised Syrian flag.

The removals reportedly come at the request of the Syrian regime of Bashar Al-Assad, which Tehran and its proxy militias have assisted against Syrian opposition groups over the past decade of civil war in the country and, in turn, have had near free rein to establish themselves and grow there.

OPINION: Removing Iran from Syria

The exact reason for the reported removal is not yet entirely clear, but it comes only two days after the Arab League readmitted Damascus back into the fold, where some reports claim that the Assad regime pledged to stem Iranian influence and begin the withdrawal of Iranian proxy militias from the country.

There are no official Arab or governmental sources which have reported on or confirmed any such conditions for Syria’s return to the League, however. It is also speculated that Iran and its proxies could be attempting to keep a lower profile within Syria, especially in order to avoid frequent Israeli air strikes on their bases and facilities.