According to head of Iran’s Foundation of Martyrs’ and Veterans’ Affairs, Mohammad Ali Shahidi Mahalati, more than 1,000 Iranian military servicemen and volunteers, supporting President Bashar al-Assad, have been killed in Syria.
More than 1,000 Iranian military servicemen and volunteers, supporting President Bashar al-Assad, lost their lives during the Syrian war, the Tasnim news agency reported on Tuesday, citing head of Iran’s Foundation of Martyrs’ and Veterans’ Affairs, Mohammad Ali Shahidi Mahalati.
“The number of martyrs from our country defending the shrines has now passed 1,000,” Mahalati told the news agency.
Military advisers and volunteer fighters, sent by Iran to Syria to work with Assad’s forces and known in Iran as ‘defenders of the shrines’ in reference to Shiite holy sites in Syria, were recruited from Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, Mahalati did not specify the nationalities of those, who were killed. According to Iran, they were sent to fight against Sunni extremists such as the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
At the same time, Iranian officials deny the fact that the country’s forces are deployed in Syria, and claim that commanders and generals of the elite Revolutionary Guards’ foreign operations wing act as ‘military advisers’ both in Syria and in Iraq.
These figures correspond to those data that was published online by experts, who take account of official obituaries. So, according to Ali Alfoneh, since 2012, 456 members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and seven servicemen of the Iranian Army lost their lives in Syria. At the same time, the total number of killed fighters, including Iranians, Afghan Shiites and Pakistani Shiites, reached 1,065 people.
Iranian combat fatalities in Syria since January 2012: IRGC (456); Regular Military: (7). November, 2016: 7.
— Ali Alfoneh (@Alfoneh) 23 ноября 2016 г.
Data compiled by @Alfoneh puts number of Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis killed in Syria at 1,065. Consistent w Iran official’s figure today
— Amir Toumaj (@AmirToumaj) 22 ноября 2016 г.
The latest death toll is significantly higher than previous data. In August, Mahalati said that Iran’s Foundation of Martyrs’ and Veterans’ Affairs “was caring for 400 people, related to fighters, killed in action in Syria and Iraq, half of whom were Afghans.”
“We immediately cover [the families] that the Quds Force announces to us,” the ILNA news agency quoted words of Mahalati, who was referring to the Guards’ foreign operations wing headed by Major General Qassem Suleimani. “We are waiting for the Quds Force to confirm the martyrdom” of more fighters, “so we can cover their families too,” he added.
In May, a law, allowing the government to grant citizenship to the families of foreigners, who fought for the Islamic republic and were killed on a battlefield, was passed by Iran. The law can be applied to volunteers from Pakistan and Afghanistan, who fight against terrorists, including the IS, in Iraq and Syria.