A senior member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was reportedly killed Friday in Syria.
The Fars news agency said Farhad Dabirian was “martyred,” without giving details on the circumstances of his death, according to Reuters.
The report said Dabirian was a former IRGC commander in the central Syrian city of Palmyra and described him as a “defender of Sayida Zainab shrine,” a Shiite holy site near Damascus.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Dabirian oversaw military operations against Islamic State jihadists in the Palmyra area and that he was close to Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah terror group.
It said Dabirian was “assassinated,” but didn’t indicate by who.
התנקשות בדמשק: סוכנות הידיעות האיראנית פארס דיווחה כי קצין בכיר במשמרות המהפכה, גנרל פרהאד דביריאן נהרג על ידי אלמונים. גורמי אופוזיציה דיווחו כי פרהאד האיראני, שהיה בין היתר אחראי על המבצע לחיסול דאעש באזור תדמור, היה מקורב למנהיג חזבאללה נסראללה@kaisos1987 pic.twitter.com/yFO1LvWO1Z
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) March 7, 2020
The reports of Dabirian’s death came as a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and Turkey took hold in the Idlib province, where the Syrian regime launched an offensive to take rebel-controlled areas.
Last month, a top commander in Iran’s Quds Force who was close to its slain leader, Qassem Soleimani, was reported to have died in battle in Syria.
Asghar Pashapour, a senior member of the Revolutionary Guards’ extraterritorial force, was killed in battle with Syrian opposition forces in Aleppo, reports in Iranian and Arabic media said.
He was 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.
Soleimani, who was killed in Iraq in January 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 last 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.