BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:20 P.M.) – An Iranian military official said that the Revolutionary Guard began its intervention in Syria before the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL/IS/Daesh) terrorist organization.
This comment came during in a meeting with a leader of the Revolutionary Guard, General Mahmoud Jharbaghi, on Iranian television.
Jharbaghi, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ artillery in Syria, said he saw Major General Qassem Soleimani, the former commander of the Quds Force in Syria, in November 2012.
He continued, “General Soleimani was leading military operations against opponents of Bashar al-Assad, and ISIS at the time did not appear yet and was not present in Syria.”
Jharbaghi revealed that Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei ordered Soleimani to go to Syria and “protect Bashar al-Assad from falling.”
The Revolutionary Guards commander pointed out that “Soleimani’s mission in Syria was to prevent the overthrow of the government of Bashar al-Assad.”
“When Soleimani went to Syria, ISIS did not exist at all, and the Syrian opposition to Bashar al-Assad was the one who was active against the Syrian government, and we have to differentiate between ISIS and the armed Syrian opposition,” he asserted .
Regarding the circumstances of his meeting with Soleimani, Jharbaghi said: “Supreme Leader Khamenei sent me to do a field reconnaissance mission in 2012 in Syria, and at that time I was the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s artillery.”
He added, “When I arrived in Damascus, many of the Syrian areas were in the hands of the Syrian opposition, which wanted to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad, and upon my meeting with Soleimani at the shrine of Sayyeda Ruqayya, I saw that Soleimani from inside the shrine supervised and led the battles against the armed Syrian opposition.”
It is noteworthy to mention that Qassem Soleimani was assassinated in an American raid that targeted a convoy he was traveling in near the Baghdad International Airport on January 3rd, 2020.