They also managed to recapture the al-Bukamal area near the Iraqi border as well as Bab al-Hawa close to the Turkish border.
From Tehran's vantage point, it scored big points in recent drills that convinced the West of its vastly improved missile capability, contrary to various US expert studies that have painted a different picture, citing the Iranian missiles' lack of precision and relatively low payload. Confronted by a more lethal adversary than previously thought, the US is now treading a fine line by relying on its military muscle to deter any Iranian "asymmetrical" provocation that could see oil prices soar. The US containment strategy may not work, however, if Tehran decides to up the ante against the US over the sanctions that are hurting the Iranian economy.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that US officials worked on contingency plans for a collapse of the Syrian government, focusing particularly on the chemical weapons that “Syria is thought to possess.”
The talks focused on whether Israel might move to "destroy Syrian weapons facilities," two US administration officials said.
An unnamed White House official also said US President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, was in Israel over the weekend to discuss the Syrian unrest.
This is while Russia and China on Thursday blocked a UN Security Council resolution against Syria, which has been the scene of violence since March 2011.