Syrian President Bashar Assad was involved in the ejection of Iranian Quds Force Commander Jawad Ghafari, wrote Saudi publications Al Arabiya and Al Hadath on Wednesday.

According to reports, Assad asked the Iranian regime to withdraw Ghafari due to the “overactivity” of the Quds Force in Syria, which the Syrian dictator considered to be a breach of sovereignty in multiple sectors.

The Saudi media said Ghafari’s exit from Syria is part of a negative trend that Iran has faced regarding its entrenchment efforts there.

Al Arabiya quoted a “knowledgeable source” as saying Assad and other senior Syrian officials stand behind Ghafari’s return to Iran following months of disagreements between Damascus and Tehran.

The publications claimed that Ghafari circumvented Syrian mechanisms while smuggling goods for black-market production, forming competition to the legal Syrian market. It added that Iranian forces in Syria exploited the country’s natural resources for their personal gain and evaded tax payments to the Syrian state.

On Tuesday, Yediot Achronot published an analysis arguing that Assad is dissatisfied with Iranian forces operating in his area and that Israel is taking advantage of that fact to step up attacks on Iranian targets.

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