The Iranian media reports that a senior general of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has been killed in Syria. According to IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency, Gholamali Gholizadeh was “martyred during fighting with Takfiri terrorists.” Iranian officials and outlets often refer to all Syrian opposition forces as “terrorists.”
The IRGC commander, a resident of Tehran and originally from Iran’s Azerbaijan Province, was a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The Iranian media provided little details about his background and recent activities in Syria. Iran’s Anaj News Agency however said that Gholizadeh was deployed to Syria at the beginning of the Syrian conflict.
Media outlets close to the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad claimed that the Iranian general was killed during Hezbollah’s attempts to advance in Wadi Barada northwest of Damascus.
Iranian leaders often claim that its military personnel plays only an “advisory” role in Syria. But the killing of a senior Iranian general on Syria’s front lines, similar to the death of more than a thousand other IRGC personnel and its mercenaries, is further evidence of Iran’s direct role in the nearly six-year conflict in Syria. The continuation of war by the Iran-led forces also undermine efforts by Turkey and Russia to jump-start peace negotiations between the Assad regime and opposition forces.