A top commander in Iran’s Quds Force who was close to its slain leader, Qassem Soleimani, has died in battle in Syria, according to multiple reports in Iranian and Arab media.
Asghar Pashapour, a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards’ extraterritorial force, was killed Sunday in battle with Syrian opposition forces in Aleppo, the reports said.
He is said to have been at the forefront of the Quds Force’s operations against anti-regime rebels in Syria, where Iran has been a key backer of President Bashar Assad since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011.
Reports of Pashapour’s death came amid a Syrian government offensive into the country’s last rebel stronghold, located in Idlib province and parts of the nearby Aleppo region.
Soleimani, who was killed in Iraq last month in an American airstrike, oversaw Iran’s support for terror groups and militias — including those fighting for Assad in Syria — in his capacity as head of the Quds Force.
He had been accused by Israel of overseeing efforts to launch attacks on Israel, including a plot to launch explosive-laden kamikaze drones into Israeli territory lat August.
Israel in recent years has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of attacks on Iranian-linked targets in Syria, as it vows to prevent Iran from establishing a military presence there that could threaten the Jewish state.