Iran General ‘seriously wounded’ in rocket attack in Syria
PARIS - Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, the head of the elite Quds force in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has been seriously injured in Aleppo, Syria, an unconfirmed report said Tuesday.
The report by the Persian-language opposition AsrIran website, referenced by Al-Arabiya, reported that Suleimani was seriously injured along with two other personnel in an anti-tank rocket attack 12 days ago, during battles in the northern Syrian city.
The AsrIran website is considered close to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, an umbrella organization of five Iranian opposition groups based in Paris.
The report said that Suleimani had received first aid in Syria and was then transported to Tehran, where he is currently being treated in a military hospital. The report was confirmed by Amir Mousavi, director of the Centre for Strategic Studies and International Relations in Tehran.
The Iranian pro-regime Tasnim News Agency denied the report, quoting Revolutionary Guards spokesman General Ramezan Sharif as saying that rumours of Suleimani’s injury are a “sheer lie” and that they are “aimed at influencing the public opinion and the Resistance Front.”
Sharif claimed that Suleimani is perfectly healthy and is continuing in his mission of “energetically assisting the Islamic Resistance in Syrian and Iraq.”
Last week, Iranian officials denied earlier reports that Suleimani had been killed in an attack in Syria.
Reports claiming that the powerful commander had been wounded or even killed in Syria had been circulating on social media for several days.
In response, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards, Rameza Sharif, said on Tuesday that General Suleimani was “in perfect health and full of energy”.
“He helps the Islamic resistance in Syria and Iraq,” Sharif added, according to Sepah News, the official site of the Revolutionary Guards.
Iran has not officially acknowledged sending troops to Syria, but says it has “advisers” on the ground assisting regime forces.
Tehran backs President Bashar Al Assad in the conflict.
Russia, another key ally of Al Assad, began air strikes in support of the government on September 30.
Last month, a US official said some 2,000 Iranian or Iranian-backed forces were participating in the regime’s Aleppo operations.
Iran-backed Hezbollah acknowledges its forces are fighting on the ground, while the presence of Iranian, Iraqi and Afghan “volunteer” fighters has been documented.