Iranian Brigadier General Mohsen Ghajarian of the elite Revolutionary Guards force has reportedly been killed during an operation in the northern Syrian province of Aleppo, along with six members of Iran’s volunteer militia, the Basij.
The report comes from Iran’s Fars and MizanOnline news agencies, which did not specify exactly how Ghajarian died, or which rebel force killed him, according to AFP.
Ynet News adds that Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency also reported his death. “Six volunteer Basij members were martyred in Syria while fighting against takfiris near Aleppo while defending Shiite holy shrines,” said Tansim. Takfiri is an insult meaning “Muslim apostate,” a term Shiite Iran often uses for militants from Sunni ISIS.
The slain general’s assignment was described as “advising pro-government forces in the fight against the Islamic State,” but it is not yet clear if ISIS militants, or fighters from one of the many other rebel factions, were his killers.
Assisted by Iranian ground forces and Russian air power, the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad has been conducting a major push north of the city of Aleppo.
“Assad’s forces Thursday entered the villages of Nubol and Zahraa north of Aleppo city, after breaking a rebel siege there, prompting what Syrian state news agency SANA called ‘mass celebrations’ in the streets,” AFP reports. “Iranian state media was also celebrating the victory with live reports from the battlefront.”
Ghajarian is the latest high-profile casualty from Iran’s intervention in Syria. Another high-ranking veteran officer, General Hossein Hamedani, was killed in October. AFP counts over 100 advisers and “volunteers” from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan killed in Syria so far.