Iranian troops are operating in Syria alongside the military, according to statements made by a general in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

General Salar Abnoush, while delivering a speech to army volunteers on Monday, said the IRGC was "involved in fighting every aspect of a war, a military one in Syria and a cultural one as well," according to the Daneshjoo news agency as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

While Iran has consistently expressed support for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian authorities have previously denied any military involvement in Syria, where anti-government forces have been engaged in a bloody conflict with the Syrian army since March 2011.

Syria has been a strong regional ally for Iran, which has sought to maintain its influence in the Middle East in the wake of a spate of popular uprisings known as the Arab Spring that have toppled autocratic regimes throughout the Arab world amidst calls for democratization.