Brigadier General Esmail Qaani (Ghaani), IRGC Quds Force commander, undated. (IRNA)

June 27, 2020

An Iranian news agency on Saturday reported a visit by the chief of the elite Quds Force to eastern Syria, a rare public announcement of a trip to the battlefield by the successor of a commander killed by the United States in January.

Esmail Ghaani is the replacement for Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful military commander, who directed its allied militia in conflicts across the Middle East before he was killed by a U.S. missile strike at Baghdad airport.

Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency reported Ghaani had visited Abu Kamal, a Syrian town on the border with Iraq, in the past few days. It later deleted the report without explanation. Other Iranian news media made no mention of the visit.

Tasnim quoted Ghaani as describing Islamic State fighters as agents of Israel and the United States, a common accusation by Iran.

Israel has regularly struck what it says are positions of Iran and its allies inside Syria. On Tuesday, the Syrian army said it responded to Israeli strikes on southern, central and eastern Syria in which two soldiers were killed.

The Quds Force under Soleimani was instrumental in directing militia that fought on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the nine year Syrian war.

On Saturday, Iranian media said the bodies of two Revolutionary Guards members killed in Syria four year ago were repatriated after being recently found and identified.


About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.