The Iran-backed militias are making a push into the southeast of the country, in the Badia region, where tensions are rising following the deployment of government forces that are supported by Iraqi militias.

Washington is currently undertaking a large effort in an attempt to stop Iran’s influence from spreading across the region.

Earlier this month, Damascus said the priorities in its campaign to re-establish rule over the country are Badia and Deir Az Zor – places that have been destroyed by six years of war and areas where hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives.

The government of Syria is receiving substantial assistance from Russia and Iran. The opposition that had previously been battling with very little help, is now getting help from the West and other countries in the region that are opposed to Assad.

The rebels indicate that a program known as MOC is backed by the United States’ CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and other countries in the region, namely Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

A senior commander of Maghawir al-Thawra, a Pentagon-backed group, said that weapons were slowly but surely arriving at their base which is located near to the border of Iraq.

The commander also claimed that a recruitment drive to get local fighters from Deir Az Zor has been implemented, and they are being trained at their garrison near the border with Iraq. He said: “The equipment and reinforcements come and go daily … but in the last few weeks they have brought in more heavy military vehicles, TOW [missiles], and armoured vehicles.”

Although the US-led coalition would not confirm whether there was an increase of support for Maghawir al-Thawra, it has been confirmed by Colonel Ryan Dillon that coalition forces are ready to protect themselves if pro-regime forces refuse to leave a de-confliction zone around Tanf.

He said: “The coalition has observed pro-regime forces patrolling in the vicinity of the established de-confliction zone around the Tanf training site in Syria … Pro-regime patrols and the continued armed and hostile presence of forces inside the … zone is unacceptable and threatening to coalition forces.”