The death of an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander in Deir Ezzor province, confirmed by Iranian media, provides new evidence that Iran is directly involved in Syria's war, an activist and an expert told Diyaruna.
Despite mounting evidence on the ground, Iran has persistently claimed that its intervention is limited to providing technical, logistical and intelligence support.
Gen. Mansour Abbasi Hafshejani was killed in the fighting in the town of al-Salihiya, which is just outside Albu Kamal city, said activist Ayman al-Ali, a contributor to the Albu Kamal Natives Corner Facebook page.
"Hafshejani's two-vehicle convoy was bombed, killing the general and those accompanying him," he told Diyaruna.
Those killed alongside Hafshejani were Iranian and Syrian nationals, al-Ali said.
IRGC officers are present in large numbers in the Albu Kamal area, he said, where they lead affiliated armed groups, particularly the Fatemiyoun Brigade, which is composed of Afghan fighters.
Hafshejani is not the first IRGC officer to be killed in Syria, said Fathi al-Sayed, a researcher with al-Sharq Centre for Regional and Strategic Studies, who specialises in Iranian affairs.
Reports of these deaths are important, he told Diyaruna, as they implicate the IRGC for its direct involvement in the war in Syria.
"These incidents need to be fully and legally documented," he added.
The Iranian regime has been prolonging the war in Syria to complete its plans of connecting Tehran with Beirut via a land corridor that traverses Iraq and Syria, he said.
Of the deaths of IRGC leaders in Syria, al-Sayed said the IRGC "seems not to trust the armed groups it formed in Syria, as they are all commanded by veteran Iranian officers to ensure their compliance with Iranian directives".