The Iranian government has confirmed that it has suffered “heavy casualities” of at least 700 dead from its ground forces fighting ISIS near the Syrian city of Aleppo.
Contrary to Western propaganda, only the armed forces of Iran, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Russia, and the Syrian government, are actually fighting ISIS on the ground.
The Iranian army in action against ISIS in Syria.
According to a new press release issued by the Fars news agency, the Iranian government has said that “several of its soldiers have been killed in fighting near Aleppo” in what could be one of Iran’s biggest single day losses in Syria since deploying forces to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Fars news agency on May 7 quoted a Revolutionary Guards official as saying that 13 military advisers had been killed and 21 wounded in the clashes with US-backed “insurgents” on May 6 in Khan Tuman, some eight miles southwest of Aleppo.
According to Reuters, dozens of people were killed in the battle. Reports said the attack on Khan Tuman was launched by an alliance of Islamist insurgents known as Jaish al-Fatah, including the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
Jaish al-Fatah and its affiliates have published on videos and photos on social media of what appear to be the bodies of Iranians or other Shi’ite militias who were killed in Khan Tuman.
In related news, a senior Iranian official has met with Assad and vowed continued support for his government in the country’s five-year-old war, which has been powered primarily by western support for the “rebels.”
Ali Akbar Velayati, an adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, met with Assad in Damascus on May 7.
Syria’s state news agency SANA quoted Velayati as saying that Tehran will always stand by Syria because it “knows that terrorism does not target Syria but the whole people of the region.”
A recent funeral in Tehran for a member of the Revolutionary Guard killed fighting ISIS in Syria.
Iran has been steadily increasing its military presence in Syria, along with Hezbollah, and has played a significant role in helping the Syrian army push back the “rebels.”
In total, almost 700 Iranian soldiers and militia fighters have been killed in Syria. About 2,000 troops from the Quds Force—the Special Forces wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)—are present in Syria, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
In addition, at least 13 Shia militias have been identified among the forces fighting for the Syrian government. The IRGC provides these units with recruits, weapons, training and military planning. In total, at least 3,000 Iranian military personnel are believed to be in Syria.
The 13 deaths in the most recent battle near Aleppo would bring the total number of Iranian dead to 693 in the last three years. Given that the first IRGC personnel arrived in Syria in 2012, and many losses have probably gone unreported, the real toll is almost certainly higher.