'Karbala' Ambush: Who is killing Iranian troops? - NEDRET ERSANEL

'Karbala' Ambush: Who is killing Iranian troops?

You can sense the first hint in the news below.

"Some of the Iranian generals killed in Syria were killed by Iranian intelligence because they were unsuccessful on the front. The most striking one was Iran's Quds Force commander Gen. Qassem Suleimani's assistant, Hussein Hamadani. His death happening straight after the rumors that he would be dismissed from his duty is striking. It was said that Hamadani was killed in Aleppo by Daesh, yet neither Daesh nor other opposition groups accepted responsibility. Hamadani being killed in this way, asserted the allegations that the Iran Revolutionary Guards were discharged. ("Iranian generals victims of reckoning," 08/05, Yeni Şafak.)

This might just sound like a claim, but there is more information that leads us to suspect. It is said that more than 10 Iranian generals were killed by the opponents. Can so many generals be killed in a non-traditional war?

For example, Gen. Kocharyan being killed alongside six to seven of his staff at the same headquarters in Aleppo is rather meaningful.

The news article states that the report sent from Syria to Iran reveals there is contradictory information on the deaths of soldiers like "killed by friendly fire" and "killed as a result of ambush."


Another piece of news that came at the same time suggests that something is not right.

"A hundred soldiers from Iran's Revolutionary Guards were ambushed by the Syrian opponents in Hantuman, a region in the north of Syria. At least 20 soldiers lost their lives. This figure is between 20 to 50, according to Iranian sources." ("20 Iranian soldiers die in Syria," 07/05, AA)

We will look at the "possibilities" of Iran's presence in Syria, but the following quote makes things more understandable; "TheKanun newspaper, known for its affiliation with the opposition, published the headline "Aleppo is Karbala," in reference to the deaths of the Revolutionary Guards in the Hantuman region. The newspaper accused Russia of being responsible for the casualties."

Tehran likening the incident to Karbala is important. Expressing the sides of the war in this way is not new. It is not right to refer to the incident in this way; however, this is how political perception is created.

As there is information that there will be operations to capture Aleppo and the importance of this city is reiterated, reflecting the death of the Iranian soldiers as "Karbala" and "ambush" is a rather practical method for Tehran.

There is logic behind the allegations about Russia. Iranian troops were there with Russian support.

I should first say that these soldiers were killed by the Syrian opposition. There is no doubt on this issue, as the communication methods used today catch the "moment" with photos/videos, service them directly to the world. Corpses, documents and identity cards that belong to Iranian soldiers are published.

Then what?

It isn't important who pulls the trigger, because the allegation says that although Russia informs of this ambush, it turns its face away.

Iran is losing more and more soldiers in Syria daily. It had not experienced such loss even in the first days it entered Syria to help Syrian leader Bashar Assad. The casualties in April and May have broken records.

This increase is strange. It means that Iranian forces are the front line or are pushed to the front line.

The not so accurate information gathered from Iranian sources shows that Tehran lost 400 soldiers between 2013 and 2015. Although this total figure does not seem too high, the casualty rate for these two months is 50 and 64, and the number of casualties being 300 since September proves that there has been a sudden increase.

In February, US Secretary of State John Kerry announced during the EU's Geneva Summit that Iran was withdrawing from Syria. ("Kerry: Iran has withdrawn Guards from Syria," 25/02, AFP.)

For now I would like to close this issue with this statement; The number of Iranian forces may have decreased in Syria according to Kerry. But Tehran is now adding thousands of Afghan refugees to its forces. ("Syrian war: The Afghans sent by Iran to fight for Assad," 15/04, BBC.)


"Great Britain Prime Minister David Cameron warned that in the case the UK leaves the EU, which is to be voted for in the June 23 referendum, the risk of war in Europe will increase."

On the one hand, this statement reflects that those who want to leave the EU have a high possibility of achieving this result from the referendum. The surveys conducted indicate that the results are equal.

Meanwhile, five former NATO secretaries-general issued a warning that came at the same time as Cameron's statement: "Britain leaving the European Union would 'give succour to the West's enemies,'" 09/05, The Telegraph.)



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