A member of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards is dead.
Iranian media confirmed that Commander Farhad Dabirian was killed near Syria’s capital of Damascus, according to The Washington Times. His death comes two months after the top leader of the revolutionary Quds force, Qassem Soleimani, was killed in an American airstrike.
Iranian general killed in Syria
The Iranian Fars agency said that Dabrian was “martyred,” but didn’t explain how he died or who killed him, according to Reuters. He had fought in the battle to retake the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS, which at its height controlled a large swath of territory in Iraq and Syria.
Fars described the slain commander as a “defender of Sayida Zainab shrine,” a reference to a Shiite holy site in the suburbs south of Damascus where he was killed. The Iranian regime is Shiite, while ISIS is a Sunni group.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which supports the Syrian opposition fighters, also reported Dabrian’s death with little detail.
Tensions in the Middle East
Iran is an ally of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and has helped Assad in his regime’s nine-year civil war. Israel has accused Iran of waging war with the Jewish state through a network of proxies throughout Syria and the Levant, and the country has launched numerous strikes on Iranian targets in Syria in recent years.
Dabrian’s death comes amid the backdrop of a shaky ceasefire in Idlib province, according to The Times of Israel, the last stronghold of anti-regime forces in Syria, between Syria and Turkey, Reuters reported. Russia, another ally of Syria, brokered the agreement, which came shortly after 34 Turkish fighters were killed in a Syrian airstrike, the worst military casualties for Turkey in decades.
The recent clashes have displaced countless Syrians as refugees cause worsening disruptions at the border between Turkey and Greece. Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has since opened Turkey’s border to let refugees enter Europe in a bid to pressure the European Union to do more to help manage the refugee crisis, according to Fox News.
Another blow for Iran
Dabrian’s death also comes two months after the U.S. killing of Iran’s topmost general and the “mastermind” behind Iran’s proxies, Quds force leader Qassem Soleimani. Soleimani’s death dealt a huge blow to Iran’s morale and brought tensions between America and Iran to historic highs. The two countries came back from the brink of war after Iran retaliated with non-lethal strikes on U.S. bases in Iraq.
Tensions between America and Iran have increased under the administration of President Donald Trump, who has taken a more aggressive tack toward containing the rogue regime than his predecessor, Barack Obama. The Trump administration hailed the Soleimani strike as a necessary act of deterrence against provocations from Iran, which has been accused of sabotaging oil routes in the Persian Gulf and threatening Israel.
America has also imposed punishing sanctions on Iran that have crippled its economy. Meanwhile, Iran is also among the world’s worst hotspots for the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19, according to the BBC.
Several members of the nation’s parliament have the disease, and some have died, the BBC reported. More than 200 people in Iran have perished and there are over 7,000 infected.