WW4/Middle East Files: Syrian army launches missile barrage against rebel-held district of Damascus, kills 40 civilians, US-backed Syrian National Council blames Russian airstrikes on Douma “massacre,” alleging as many as 55 noncombatants perished; meanwhile, Iran for first time joins peace/transition talks in Vienna, summit also includes diplomats from UN, Russia, USA, UK, France, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt; Iran no longer able to hide war dead in Syria, state media admits generals, more than 400 “volunteers” from Iran, including Afghan refugees, have died in Syria; US DIA confirms since 2013 Iran has lost 8 sr. cmdrs. in Syria, including at least 6 generals, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff Dunford estimates Iran has less than 2,000 troops in Syria, 1,000 in Iraq; Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, dep. cmdr. of IRGC, responds to losses, reveals “Iran is increasing the quality and quantity of its presence in Syria”; London’s Sharq al Awsat newspaper: Hezbollah casualties in Syria top 1,280, Lebanese analyst: “Hezbollah’s losses in Syria exceeded expectations … and its elite Al-Radwan battalion has been greatly exhausted to the extent of disintegration after the loss of its commanders and professional fighters in the Zabadani battle” (July 3 -Sept. 24, 2015)

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