The Iranian President of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Mohamed Ali Shahidi Mahallati announced yesterday that around 1,000 fighters sent to Syria by the Islamic Republic have been killed in the conflict, according to news agency Tasneem.
In a speech to members of the Basij militia forces, Mahallati stated that Iran had recruited fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan sent as military advisers to support Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. The nationalities of those killed, referred to as “defenders of the household shrines”, a reference to the Shia holy shrines in Syria, were not revealed.
Iran is one of the most prominent allies of the Syrian regime and has continually maintained its financial and military support. One of the brigades sent to fight in Syria is the Fatimid Brigade which is supervised by Afghan recruits from Iran, made up predominantly of volunteers who were sent from Iran to fight in Syria and Iraq.
Iran denies deploying troops to Syria and has stressed that the leaders and generals of the Revolutionary Guards are only in Syria and Iraq as “military advisers”. However, Iranian media regularly reports on the fall of Iranian, Afghani and Pakistani “martyrs” killed in Syria and the movement of their bodies to Iran which would suggest otherwise.