March 2, 2020
In intense clashes taking place in Syria’s Idlib province in recent days 21 members of Iran-backed Afghan and Pakistani militias were killed, Qom News an Iranian website has reported.
The report says 18 members of Pakistani Shiite fighters of Zeynabyoun Brigate and three members of Afghan Shiite Fatemyoun Brigade died in battles.
As Iran became deeply involved in the Syrian civil war it organized proxy forces to do the dangerous ground fighting, while Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) officers and advisers largely provided command and support to a variety of forces.
The burial ceremony of those killed took place on Sunday, March 1 in Iran’s holy city of Qom.
Forces loyal to Syria’s strongman Bashar Assad intensified their attacks on Idlib in recent weeks to defeat rebel forces and take back control. Turkey, which provides support, including diplomatic backing to Syrian rebels intervened to defend a disengagement line agreed with Russia and Assad in 2018.
An air attack, which killed scores of Turkish forces on February 27, led to military retaliation by Ankara against pro-Assad forces, possibly including Iran-backed fighters.
Iran’s ally Hezbollah also lost 8-14 fighters on Friday, based on different estimates, and thousands gathered in Beirut for their burial on Sunday.
Turkey downed two Syrian fighter jets on Sunday as it continued attacks on pro-Syrian forces. However, Ankara reiterated that it has no desire to confront Russian forces in Syria.