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NEW YORK – Iranian and North Korean experts are directing an operations room for the Syrian army ahead of a possible showdown with Western powers, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND.

The Iranians and North Koreans, based inside Syria, are focusing their efforts on ensuring the viability of Syria’s air defense systems while maintaining the embattled country’s vast missile arsenal, the officials said.

The officials said Iran has gone so far as to pledge soldiers to Syria if such mercenaries are needed in a confrontation.

Russian military experts are also participating in the preparation efforts by advising the Syrian army, but Moscow has not met the expectations of Bashar al-Assad’s regime regarding the extent of their involvement, the officials said,

The Middle Eastern security officials further told WND they have information Iran failed to convince the Hamas command in the Gaza Strip to fire rockets into the Jewish state in the event of a Western attack on Syria.

The officials believe that if a Western attack against Damascus is surgical and is carried out without the goal of regime change, the Syrians may not retaliate against Israel.

However, the officials said the regime is preparing to possibly use Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch attacks against opposition forces inside the country aiding the Syrian rebels, the officials added.

The information comes as a Western-led military effort against Assad looks increasingly likely after the Syrian regime was accused of using chemical weapons in an attack last week.

Both Russia and Iran warned the U.S. and Western powers and their allies against intervening in Syria.

A statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry warned a military operation would have “catastrophic consequences for the region.”

“Attempts to bypass the Security Council, once again to create artificial groundless excuses for a military intervention in the region are fraught with new suffering in Syria and catastrophic consequences for other countries of the Middle East and North Africa,” the ministry said.

Abbas Araqchi, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, told reporters, “There will definitely be perilous consequences for the region.”

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