IRGC Member Killed Under Unclear Circumstances

Iran-based Tasnim News Agency reported Mostafa Mahdovinejad, a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed on Tuesday while “carrying out missions on the resistance front.”

Tasnim also reported Mahdovinejad was a “defender of the shrine”, a common phrase used to describe Iranian military personnel who have fought in Syria and Iraq.

While there are no official reports offering more details on Mahdovinejad’s death, it’s likely he was killed in Syria. The IRGC has maintained a presence in the country since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war and have fought on behalf of the Syrian regime, an ally of the Iranian government.

Numerous members of the IRGC have been killed in Syria under different circumstances. Some by rebels fighting against the Syrian regime, others by the Islamic State, and some assisting Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces fighting Israel.

As Qalaat al-Mudiq, a military analyst focused on Syria noted, Mahdovinejad died on the same day Syrian rebels attacked a vehicle on the Western Aleppo front, which is “known to have an IRGC presence.” Al-Mudiq also stated that the photos of Mahdovinejad “suggest he died in a blast.”

Another possibility is that Mahdovinejad was killed in an Israeli airstrike that occurred on Wednesday in the Quneitra region in southern Syria. One member of the Syrian army’s auxiliary forces was reportedly killed in the attack. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Syrian armed forces have not officially commented on the assault, but the airstrike was likely in response to the presence of Iran and its proxies near Israel’s northern border.

While the Iranian government occasionally reveals details on the deaths of IRGC members in Syria, it appears for now it will remain ambiguous regarding Mahdovinejad’s death.

Joe Truzman is a senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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