IRAN’S fundamentalist regime is using Afghan refugees as “cannon fodder” to bolster its forces fighting in Syria, according to one of Iran’s “parliaments in exile”.

The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) – an umbrella group of political opposition to Tehran – has revealed a new promotional video aimed at recruiting Afghan nationals to join the war in Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

NCRI said the video had been aired by the state television channel Ofogh TV ( and had been distributed by state media agencies including the Fars news agency, which is affiliated to the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

The video, which has been seen by The National, is dedicated to the “unsung heroes of the earth, the renowned of the skies, and the combatants of the Fatemiyoun division” – an Afghan Shi’a militia. It follows one Afghan man who recalls countrymen who have died in the Syrian conflict and who eventually dons an army uniform with the Fatemiyoun militia emblem on his arm to join the war. Throughout, another man sings a propaganda song with Afghan lyrics which say: “To the raging enemy we are the sharp sword. We are from the Islamic nation and the country of Afghanistan.

“We are the mentors of conviction and we are the adherents of the Quran. We are the heirs to the blood, the heirs to the martyrs. We will fill the world with the resonance of our fight, of our steadfastness and firmness, and of our will and determination.”

Iran’s regime has said its involvement in Syria is an attempt to “defend the sacred shrines”, but most of its casualties are in the Aleppo region, nearly 200 miles from the Shi’ite shrines near Damascus.

Shahin Gobadi, of the NCRI’s foreign affairs committee, told The National: “Syria has turned into a total quagmire and strategic impasse for the Iranian regime.

“Ali Khamenei, the regime’s supreme leader, views an end to Assad’s rule as a red line for the survival of the clerical regime. While the Iranian youths refrain from taking part in this criminal war, Khamenei is left with no choice but to dispatch his veteran IRGC forces and commanders to Syria, even though up to 50 IRGC brigadier generals have been killed in Syria so far.

“He is also trying to deploy more troops to the war front, and dispatch more of his non-Iranian mercenaries, in particular Afghan refugees as cannon fodder.”

According to intelligence obtained by the opposition People’s Mujahidin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) from inside the IRGC, Tehran has deployed more than 70,000 revolutionary guards, regular army and foreign units to fight in Syria. Among them are up to 20,000 members of the Fatemiyoun.

In April, a Revolutionary Guard general acknowledged that the Iranian regime was burying its Afghan mercenaries who have died in Syria anonymously. The burials were thought to be taking place in order to cover up the high level of Afghan casualties.

Afghan recruits are reportedly given four weeks of basic military training. Once that is completed, they are paid around $500 (£340) before being dispatched to Syria.

No-one was available to comment at the Iranian Embassy in London.