AHVAZ, Iran, May 16 (UPI) -- Iranian military forces are training Syrian troops to help put down a wave of deadly demonstrations across the country, an Iranian opposition leader said.
Syrian troops are roaming the streets of the country to curb anti-government demonstrations that have raged throughout the country. Hundreds of people have been killed or injured in the protests.
Ammar al-Qurabi, the head of Syria's National Organization of Human Rights, told Asharq al-Awsat during the weekend that Syrian authorities have turned the country into a "huge prison."
Nasir Jabr, a spokesman for the opposition Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz in western Iran, told the pan-Arab daily newspaper that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have been training Syrian forces since 2009.
"The Revolutionary Guards Corps currently provides the latest military training for the forces of (Syrian President) Bashar Assad and helps them with tactics to bring the protests in Syrian cities under control," he was quoted as saying.
Some regional observers note the Syrian upheaval is reminiscent of the Iranian response to the political unrest that greeted the 2009 re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
The opposition leader said Tehran was anxious to see the Syrian regime remain intact.