Top Iranian Commander Killed in Syria

Eight Iranian military leaders ‘martyred’ in clashes

IRGC members march during a parade ceremony
IRGC members march during a parade ceremony / AP

Iran confirmed Friday that one of its generals was killed late Thursday during clashes in central Syria, bringing the total number of Iranian killed in action in the war-torn country this week to eight, according to state-controlled news reports.

Brig. Gen. Reza Khavari, a senior commander in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is actively working to combat rebels seeking to depose President Bashar al-Assad, "was martyred in clashes" with opposition forces, some of which are being armed by the United States.

Khavari was "fulfilling his duty as a military advisor," according to Iran’s state-controlled Fars News Agency.

At least seven other IRGC members part of the country’s Ansar Corps, which carries out clandestine activities outside the Islamic Republic’s borders, have also been killed in Syria in the past two days.

An IRGC official told Fars News on Friday that the "IRGC has boosted the number of its advisors in Syria in recent days following government troops' striking victories in multiple fronts across the nation."

Iran has publicly boosted its presence in the country since finalizing a nuclear accord with global powers earlier this year. Russia also has been actively running military operations in the country in the hope of bolstering Assad.

The IRGC confirmed a total of eight deaths this week.

"Asked why the IRGC casualties in Syria are mostly ranking officers, [the IRGC] said Iran does not have combat troops in Syria and has only sent advisors to help the Muslim nations, who provide counseling services and strategies to the Syrian army commanders in the battlefield and from a very close range to the forefront," according to the report.

Another IRGC leader killed in Syria had served as a bodyguard for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the former president of the Islamic Republic. This official was "martyred while fulfilling his duty as a military advisor in Syria’s North province of Aleppo," according to Fars.

Three other IRGC leaders killed this week were "veteran commanders," according to the report.