Revolutionary Guards commander, fighter killed in Syria, Iranian media say

Above, a rocket is fired from a military vehicle in Albu Kamal, Syria in this still image taken from a video. (Reuters)
Updated 19 November 2017
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Revolutionary Guards commander, fighter killed in Syria, Iranian media say

BEIRUT: A commander in Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards and a lower-ranking Iranian fighter have been killed fighting Daesh in Syria in recent days, Iranian media reported on Sunday.
The Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s most powerful military force that also oversees an economic empire worth billions of dollars, have been fighting in support of Syrian president Bashar Assad for several years.
An Iranian official told the Tasnim news agency last year that more than 1,000 Iranians have been killed in Syria. Senior members of the Guards have been among those killed.
Kheyrollah Samadi, a Guards commander in charge of a unit in Syria, died on Thursday in fighting in the Albu Kamal region, bordering Iraq, according to Fars News.
Samadi was killed in clashes with Daesh, according to the Ghatreh news site. Iranian media have previously reported on fighting in that area between Iran’s Shiite militia allies and Daesh.
The Syrian army and its allies took complete control over Albu Kamal, Daesh’s last significant town in Syria, a military news service run by Hezbollah said on Sunday.
Samadi, who fought in the Iran-Iraq war during the 1980s and had retired from the Iranian military before signing on to go to Syria, was killed by a mortar explosion, Fars News, a news agency, said.
Iranian news sites posted pictures on Sunday of Samadi with Qassem Soleimani, head of the Guards branch responsible for operations outside Iran.
The lower-ranking Iranian fighter, Mehdi Movahednia, was killed on Saturday in clashes with Daesh in the town of Mayadin in eastern Syria, Fars News reported.
The Revolutionary Guards initially kept quiet about their role in the Syria conflict. But in recent years, as casualties have mounted, they have been more outspoken about their engagement, framing it as an existential struggle against the Sunni Muslim fighters of Daesh who see Shiites, the majority of Iran’s population, as apostates.
On web sites linked to the Guards, members of the organization killed in Syria and Iraq are praised as protectors of Shiite holy sites and labeled “defenders of the shrine”.
US President Donald Trump last month gave the US Treasury Department authority to impose economic sanctions on members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in response to what Washington calls its efforts to destabilize and undermine its opponents in the Middle East.


Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

Updated 42 min 15 sec ago
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Fresh protests in Iraq as medics raise death toll to 11

  • Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad
  • Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people

BAGHDAD: Fresh protests hit southern Iraq Sunday as medical sources put at 11 the number of demonstrators killed in two weeks of unrest sparked by ire over corruption and lack of public services.
Security forces remained deployed around the capital Baghdad after struggling Friday to disperse crowds of angry protesters who took to the streets.
Demonstrations have roiled swathes of southern and central Iraq since erupting in the oil-rich port city of Basra on July 8, when security forces opened fire killing one person.
Overall medical sources put the death toll in the unrest at 11 people, three in each of the cities Basra, Samawah and Najaf, and one in both the cities of Diwaniyah and Karbala.
Most of them were killed by gunfire from unidentified assailants, while one person suffocated to death on tear gas used to disperse the demonstrators.
Protesters on Sunday took to the streets in the cities of Samawah and Nasiriyah, chanting “no to corruption,” a scourge Iraqis say has long blighted their country.
Since the start of the demonstrations those involved have focused their anger on the political establishment, with government buildings and party offices being sacked or set ablaze.
The Iraqi authorities have scrambled to halt the unrest and have blocked social media sites online to try to prevent the spread of protests.
Iraq is in a state of political limbo with Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi overseeing a caretaker government as wrangling to form a new government drags on after elections in May.
A coalition headed by populist cleric Moqtada Sadr topped the polls, campaigning on an anti-graft ticket to claim the most seats in parliament.