Revolutionary Guards - AP - May 23, 2012
Iranian basij paramilitary volunteers, affiliated with the elite Revolutionary Guard. Photo by AP
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Iran is sending commanders from its elite Revolutionary Guard Corps and hundreds of infantry soldiers to Syria, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.

The report was based on statements of current and former members of the corps.

Revolutionary Guard officials claim that the deployment of troops to Syria are part of increased Iranian efforts to fund and arm Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

"Today we are involved in fighting every aspect of a war, a military one in Syria and a cultural one as well," Gen. Salar Abnoush, commander of IRGC's Saheb al-Amr unit, told trainees in a speech on Monday, reported the Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, the comments were published by the Daneshjoo news agency, which is run students loyal to the regime, and could not be independently verified.

Iran has reportedly been training Syrian security forces and spying on dissidents, according to U.S. officials and Syrian opposition.  The move to openly send Revolutionary Guard troops to Syria follows weeks of clashes in Damascus and Aleppo, and the defection of several high ranking Syrian government officials.

On Sunday, a conference of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) opened in Tehran. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said he hoped for a show of solidarity against sanctions the West has imposed to punish Iran for its nuclear activities.

The situation in Syria has been an issue of interest at the NAM conference as well, as an Iranian lawmaker was quoted on Monday as saying that Assad has given his support to Iran's effort on to come up with a new peace plan for Syria.

"We have consulted with the Syrian president how Iran's efforts could be realized at the NAM summit," Alaeddin Boroujerdi was quoted by the ISNA news agency.