According to reports, thousands of Iranian troops have entered Syria and are preparing to launch a major ground offensive against ISIS

They’re coming (according to Reuters)

Reuters is reporting that thousands of Iranian troops are preparing for a major offensive against “moderate” militants in Syria. According to the report, which cites various “unnamed” Syrian officials:

“The big battle preparations in that area are clear,” said one of the officials. “There is a large mobilization of the Syrian army … elite Hezbollah fighters, and thousands of Iranians who arrived in stages in recent days,” said the official.

The second official, who is close to the Syrian government, said: “The decision to launch the battle of Aleppo has been taken … It is no longer hidden that thousands of Iranians are now in Syria and their role is fundamental.”

Both officials said the attack would begin soon.

For the record, Iran denies that it has boots on the groundin Syria. However, Tehran acknowledges that it provides logistical support to the Syrian army. A number of high-ranking Iranian officers have been killed in recent fighting in Syria.

Iranian officials seem determined to prevent ISIS and other militant groups from making further territorial gains in Syria and Iraq. For Tehran, the conflict in Syria is an existential threat that must be extinguished as soon as possible. But is a ground offensive coming soon? It’s difficult to take “unnamed officials” cited by Reuters seriously, but it’s just as difficult to believe that Iran will sit on the sidelines and watch its ally — and the entire region — go up in flames.