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Iran Revolutionary Guard general reportedly killed in Syria

State media says Abolfazl Alijani served as military adviser; death not believed related to recent Israeli strikes at Syrian army positions where Iran-backed fighters are based

Illustrative: Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) march during the annual military parade, marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran, on September 22, 2018. (AFP/STR)
Illustrative: Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) march during the annual military parade, marking the anniversary of the outbreak of the devastating 1980-1988 war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, in the capital Tehran, on September 22, 2018. (AFP/STR)

A general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was reportedly killed in Syria on Monday.

Abolfazl Alijani was killed while serving as a “military adviser” in the country, according to Iran International, a news outlet identified with Iran’s political opposition.

The outlet cited Iranian state media, which did not specify how Alijani was killed but said his body would be returned to Iran in the coming days for burial.

While Israel has reportedly carried out several air strikes in Syria this month, they are not believed to be the cause of Alijani’s death, with the most recent attack taking place a week earlier.

Those airstrikes on western and central Syria killed three soldiers, wounded three others and caused material damage. The state-run SANA broadcaster said Israeli jets launched missiles from over neighboring Lebanon, targeting sites in Tartus and on the outskirts of the capital Damascus

A Syrian opposition war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the airstrikes hit Syrian army positions where Iran-backed fighters are based.

Israel does not acknowledge specific strikes in the enemy state and had no comment on last week’s offensive.

It has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria in the last decade, mostly to stymie attempts by Iranian forces to transfer weapons to the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group or establish a foothold on Israel’s northern frontier.

Israeli strikes have continued in Syrian airspace, which is largely controlled by Russia, even as ties with Moscow have deteriorated in recent months.

Israel has found itself at odds with Russia, as the Jewish state increasingly supports Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, while still seeking to maintain freedom of movement in Syria’s skies.

The Revolutionary Guard general’s death came a day after the US revealed that Iran had dropped its demand for the US to delist the IRGC in exchange for Tehran agreeing to return to compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.

Washington said this has allowed talks aimed at reviving the nuclear accord to progress in recent weeks.

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