A researcher, Ali Alfoneh, of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, recently put the number of Iranian losses at 2,603. The 2,603 losses were broken down as 511 actual Iranians, 1,045 Hezbollah fighters and 1,047 Afghan, Pakistani and other Shi’ite militia fighters, which were all under Iranian command. More than 10 Iranians of a rank equivalent to a Brigadier General are said to have been among those killed.

High losses, especially of so many senior officers, according to the report, is the reason Iran’s military presence in Syria and Iraq has fallen from thousands to hundreds. Other speculations are that Tehran has only now confirmed the numbers publicly because the wars are winding down and there won’t be significant additional Iranian losses. Still other, contrary reports, by regime opposition groups, claim that Iran’s losses are far higher, but are being covered up.

The broader implication though, is that Tehran is becoming a secondary player for the Assad regime, with Russia providing the primary military backup and direction.