Iran’s Fars News Agency (FNA) that Syria’s army has formed a new elite force called the Al-Filq Al-Khamis-Eqteham (Fifth Assault Corps) and is calling on volunteers to join the group.

FNA, close to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), says the new military front will consist of well-trained fighters and military commanders currently fighting in Syria as well as volunteers predominantly from eastern Syria. The report also notes that senior commanders from the Lebanese Hezbollah will play a key role in the formation of the Fifth Assault Corps. According to FNA’s projection, the new commando force will have about 120,000 fighters. 

The FNA also quotes Al-Arab, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper, that the new elite force will start its operations within the next four months. And quoting another report in Lebanese As-Safir newspaper, FNA writes that the creation of the Fifth Assault Corps marks “a turning point in quadrilateral cooperation and coordination between Syria, Iran, Russia and Hezbollah.”

In addition to enhancing coordination between pro-Assad forces, another reason for this initiative may be that Syria’s regular army troops have increasingly been overstretched. And given prolonged and deadly fighting in Aleppo and around Damascus, the Syrian regime and its allies must be in shortage of fighters to defend areas under control and expand their writ in more remote regions.