Iran says one of its top commanders toured Israeli-Syrian border

General Mohammad Reza Naqdi, head of Basij Resistance Force, recently visited Quneitra area

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Iran's Basij Resistance Force. (YouTube/Press TV)
General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Iran's Basij Resistance Force. (YouTube/Press TV)

The commander of a key Iranian military force recently visited the border between Israel and Syria, Iran said.

General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, commander of the Basij Resistance Force, toured the abandoned Syrian town of Quneitra on the Golan Heights, the semi-official Iranian Fars news agency reported.

The report did not say when the visit happened.

Quneitra is a Syrian town that lies along the border between Israel and Syria, and which was abandoned after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Iran, through its Lebanon-based proxy Hezbollah, is committed to helping Syrian President Bashar Assad quell a five-year old insurgency.

In January 2015 another Iranian general, Mohammed Ali Allahdadi, was killed in an airstrike near Quneitra along with several other Iranians and six Hezbollah fighters. Allahdadi, a ballistic missile expert, was reportedly visiting Syria as part of a project to set up the missile bases near the border with Israel.

The Basij is a volunteer paramilitary organization under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp. An auxiliary force, it is tasked with internal security operations and has branches across Iran.

Estimates put the force as having around 100,000 active members, with some 300,000 reservists. They have been involved in harshly suppressing protests and demonstrations in the past, including the 2009 uprising in Iran.

On Sunday Naghdi oversaw the destruction of 100,000 satellite dishes at a ceremony in Iran, warning of the impact that satellite television was having in the conservative country.

In 2011 the US Treasury Department placed sanctions on Naghdi “for being responsible for or complicit in serious human rights abuses in Iran.”

AFP contributed to this report.

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