Iran says IRGC general killed in alleged Israeli strike in Aleppo Monday

Saeed Abyar, Quds Force adviser, said to have been stationed in Syria since 2012; unverified report from war monitor puts death toll at 16

A fire following an alleged Israeli airstrike near Aleppo Syria on June 3, 2024. (Screen capture: X)
A fire following an alleged Israeli airstrike near Aleppo Syria on June 3, 2024. (Screen capture: X)

Iranian media said an IRGC general was killed in an early Monday Israeli strike on Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, which a war monitor said killed 16 members of pro-Iran groups.

“During last night’s attack by the Zionist regime on Aleppo, Saeed Abyar, one of the IRGC advisers in Syria, was martyred,” said Iran’s Tasnim news agency, referring to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

According to The New York Times, Abyar was in the IRGC’s expeditionary Quds Force and had been stationed in Syria since 2012.

Earlier, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said: “The death toll of the Israeli strike on a factory in Hayyan in western Aleppo province has risen to 16 pro-Iran group members, including Syrian and foreign fighters.”

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, initially reported 12 dead. The watchdog has been accused in the past of inflating regime losses.

It said pro-Iran groups comprising local and foreign fighters have considerable influence in government-controlled Hayyan.

There was no comment on the strike from Israel, which has carried out hundreds of strikes inside Syria since the outbreak of that country’s civil war, mainly targeting attempts to transfer weapons to the Hezbollah terror group, an Iranian proxy, or to keep Iranian fighters themselves from gaining a foothold near Israel’s border.

A Syrian defense ministry statement said Monday that “after midnight… the Israeli enemy launched an air attack from the southeast of Aleppo, targeting some positions” near the city. It reported “martyrs” and “some material damage.”

Aleppo sits on the opposite side of Syria from Israel, and is further than most previous attacks attributed to the Jewish state, though Jerusalem is thought to have ordered strikes in the region before.

The last alleged Israeli strike in Syria occurred on May 29, in an attack that was blamed for the death of a girl in the coastal city of Baniyas. According to the observatory, three Hezbollah members nearby were also killed in a concurrent strike. It blamed shrapnel from the Syrian interception of an Israeli missile for the girl’s killing.

Alleged Israeli strikes have ramped up since the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, when the Iran-backed Palestinian terror group launched a massive cross-border attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

But the Observatory said they slowed after a deadly April 1 strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus, blamed on Israel, that sent regional tensions skyrocketing and triggered Iran’s first-ever direct attack on Israel.

Meanwhile, since the day after the Hamas attack, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

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