BEIRUT (AP) -- Iran delivered 30,000 tons of food supplies to Syria on Tuesday to help the government deal with shortages due to the civil war, state media said.
As the announcement came that the massive shipment arrived at a Mediterranean port, state TV also reported that government forces had made further advances against rebels near the capital, Damascus.
The aid is part of Iran's broader support for President Bashar Assad as he prepares to run for a third presidential term while his troops battle rebels seeking his overthrow.
Iran has been Assad's major backer throughout the 3-year-old conflict, lending Damascus military support through its proxy Hezbollah group and advising the government on strategy to fight the opposition. Tehran has also been pumping funds into Syria to save the country's battered economy from collapsing.
Last May, Iran extended a $3.6 billion credit line to Syria, enabling Assad's government to buy oil products and help shore up the diving value of the Syrian pound.