The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its allies, particularly Iraqi militia Harakat al Nujaba, have been heavily engaged in combat against Jaish al Fath and Jabhat al Nusra (al-Qaeda’s Syria branch) in southern Aleppo in the past two weeks, with the IRGC losing at least 13 men since the beginning of June. The fighting is reportedly intense surrounding al Qarassi, southeast of Khan Touman, which the IRGC lost in an ambush last month, vowing revenge.
IRGC Third Lieutenant Abbas Daneshgar and “defender of the shrine” [referring to the Sayyida Zeynab mosque in Damascus] was announced killed in Syria on June 10. The following day, the public relations and propaganda deputy of the IRGC Ghaem Al-e Mohammad unit (Semnan province) told the media that the 22 year-old native from Semnan was “martyred” during an “advising operation” fighting “takfiri terrorists in the past few days.” On Sunday, IRGC-affiliate media announced Daneshgar was killed on June 9, and that he was a student in the Imam Hossein Guardianship Training and Officer College.
The college is part of the Imam Hossein University, which was designated by the U.S. Treasury in 2012 under the weapons of mass destruction designation and specifically for “providing, or attempting to provide technological, and or other support for and services in support of the IRGC.”
Last month, the commander of the college, Brigadier General Morteza Saffari, announced 100 “trainers and commanders” from the college had deployed to Syria for two to three month rotations in the past year. Some returned to Iran, some were killed or injured, and others remained as necessary, according to Saffari.
Daneshgar was given a funeral ceremony at the college today with full state honors. “It seemed as if the heart of the sky above the officer college was also gripped with the sorrow of Abbas’s absence and became cloudy,” wrote a reporter from the paramilitary Basij’s media outlet.
In attendance were his family, fellow college cadets, and senior college commanders. His last will was read out loud. During the procession, the students and commanders shouted, “death to America, death to Israel, death to the infidel House of Saud, and hayhat minna zillah” [slogan attributed to the third Shiite Imam Husayn before his death in the battle of Karbala: “humiliation is far from us.”]. Daneshgar’s casket was then transferred to his hometown of Semnan for burial.
“If we do not go to war with them in Syria and Iraq today, we must fight the takfiris in the eastern and western provinces and even in Tehran,” declared Hojjat al Eslam Nosratollah Shams-Elahi, the representative of the supreme leader in the college, in an address to the mourning congregation.
“Per the commandment of the Qur’an, we will defend the oppressed in Syria, Iraq and anywhere that is required,” proclaimed the political commissar, “we are fighting there to implement God’s commandment. We will support the oppressed anywhere…we will politically, spiritually, and operationally defend them to the best of abilities, and if we are able we will also defend the oppressed Muslims of Nigeria.”
“If the enemy has the opportunity to get close to our borders, our honor and dignity will be stumped,” he said, “Our goal in addition to keeping the war far from the country is to defend the oppressed.”
“We will give the likes of Abbas Daneshgar to preserve dignity and national and religious honor, and this is what we are seeking today,” declared the cleric.