Syrian rebels find Iranian cash in the wallets of Assad’s militiamen

Video claims to show Iranian rials in the pockets of dead shabiha fighters

Ilan Ben Zion is an AFP reporter and a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Iranian currency (photo credit: image capture from LiveLeaks video)
Iranian currency (photo credit: image capture from LiveLeaks video)

Syrian rebels last week found Iranian money in the possession of militiamen loyal to President Bashar Assad, a video uploaded to LiveLeaks claimed.

In the video, a group of rebels belonging to the Tawhid Battalion of the Free Syrian Army are shown rifling through the pockets of two dead men who they identify as “bodies of the [Assad] regime’s army.” In one of the dead men’s wallets, they find a wad of bills that one of the men erroneously identifies as Euros.

A moment later he flashes green rial bills marked with the face of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and the cameraman corrects him and identifies the cash as Iranian.

The rebels then repeatedly curse the dead men as “Iranian dogs” and mercenaries.

Part of the clip, uploaded Wednesday, was also incorporated into a second video which identified the scene as the aftermath of a Syrian rebel assault on the town of Salqin, located near the Turkish border, west of Aleppo.

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Iran has supported the Syrian regime politically, financially and militarily, since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war 19 months ago.

According to a report published in Al-Monitor earlier in October, “Iran regularly transfers money to Syria to help Damascus maintain an acceptable degree of economic stability.” It was not clear from the report whether the funds sent from Tehran were cash or otherwise.

The top commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in September admitted the elite unit has had high-level advisers in Lebanon and Syria for a long time, but did not specify any further.

Elhanan Miller contributed to this report. 

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