The Washington Post

Mass funeral held for officers killed in Syria


Mourners poured onto the streets of Tehran on Thursday to pay their respects to several Iranian officers killed in Syria, a testament to the human cost of Iran’s involvemen­t in the civil war and a public display of nationalis­t fervor as talks to revive Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers resume in Vienna.

The remains of the paramilita­ry Revolution­ary Guard Corps members were recently recovered a few miles south of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and for years the war’s most important front line.

The Guard identified the five deceased fighters, providing few details about their deaths with the exception of Gen. Abdollah Eskandari — a decorated commander who became known as the “headless general” after his capture and beheading by Syrian rebels in May 2014. The bodies were repatriate­d after a lengthy process of recovery and DNA analysis.

Iran has increasing­ly admitted to casualties since it intervened to rescue Syrian President Bashar alAssad’s government, a ground presence that coincided with Russia’s air campaign and helped Assad reestablis­h control over most of Syria. Dozens of Iranian troops have been killed fighting the Islamic State group and other extremists in Syria.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Intelligen­ce Ministry said authoritie­s arrested 10 people who it said had links to the Islamic State and had planned attacks across Iran during rallies next week to mark Ashura, a commemorat­ion of the 7th-century death of prophet Muhammad’s grandson Hussein.

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