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AFRIN ــ Three Senior Iranian officers, who have been operating in Syria as military advisers to army forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, were reportedly killed during clashes with Islamist rebel groups in Syria’s northern province of Aleppo.
Syrian official sources confirmed the death of the Iranian military officers Hussein Bawas, Mohsen Kaitaslo and Mohammad Taqi Salkhodi in fighting with Syrian rebels southern Aleppo.
Iran has for long supported the Assad regime in Syria, especially after the outbreak of the Syrian conflict in 2011. Iranian authorities have provided extensive military support to pro-Assad army forces to combat the armed opposition and the mostly Sunni rebel groups.
According to Syrian analyst Zozan Hussein, “in the current devastative war in Syria, Iranians seek to expel the Sunni component from major Syrian cities.”
“Syria is likely heading towards a sectarian division,” she told ARA News.
In January, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura in Tehran that Iran will not allow Saudi Arabia ‘fuel Syria crisis’, pointing out “it intends to leave a negative impact on Syria’s crisis through its escalating actions.”
Over the past few months, Iranian authorities announced the death of several officers and military commanders in Syria, including Maj. Gen. Hussein Hamdani, commander and advisor in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Aleppo; Rashad Hassouni Zadeh, former commander of the Sabirin brigade; and military adviser Hamid Mokhtarbend.
Two weeks ago, the Iranian government bid farewell to the military commanders Jamal Riza and Saeed Musafer, who were killed after clashes broke out between Syrian rebel forces and pro-Assad troops in Aleppo province.
Reporting by: Mir Yaqoub and Siman Jiwan
Source: ARA News