A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander based in Lebanon was shot dead
in a mysterious attack in Syria on Tuesday, and buried in Iran on Thursday,
Iranian media outlets said.
The man has been named as Gen. Hassan
Shateri, also known as Hessam Khoshnevis, and was killed in his car while
traveling from Damascus to Beirut, according to reports.
Iranian sources suggested that Syrian rebels carried out a shooting, others,
such as Press TV, which is the Iranian regime’s official English-language
outlet, said “suspected Israeli agents” carried out the attack.
Iranian Embassy in Lebanon said the dead man was in charge of Tehran’s
reconstruction assistance in Lebanon.
It said he was killed by “armed
terrorist groups,” a label used by the Syrian government to describe President
Bashar Assad’s foes, on the road to Lebanon as he returned from
A Syrian opposition commander said the attack was carried out
by rebel fighters near the Syrian town of Zabadani close to the Lebanese
Syrian rebels have repeatedly accused Tehran of sending fighters
to help Assad crush the 22- month-old uprising, a charge Iran has
Iran has strongly backed Assad during the uprising in which the
United Nations says nearly 70,000 people have been killed.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards commander-in-chief said the force was providing
non-military support in Syria and may get involved militarily if there is
Last year Syrian rebels kidnapped 48 Iranians who
they said were Revolutionary Guards fighters and authorities in Tehran described
They released them this year in a prisoner swap with Syrian
Details of Shateri’s killing, which Iranian news agencies
said happened on Tuesday, were sketchy and Iran’s envoy to Beirut drew a link
Forty eight hours after his death no rebel brigade had
“He served the oppressed, supporting the
resistance to Israel,” Iran’s ambassador to Beirut Ghazanfar Roknabadi told
reporters as he received condolences from senior Lebanese
“Assassinating this dear martyr is a clear sign that the
Zionist enemy does not accept his successful work.”
In Tehran, a funeral
service was held for Khoshnevis on Thursday, Iran’s semi-official Fars news
agency reported, attended by senior Revolutionary Guards
Tehran’s IRNA news agency said Shateri was a military
engineer during the 1980-88 conflict between Iran and Iraq, and later operated
But officials stressed he was engaged in civilian
reconstruction in Lebanon for the last seven years and Lebanon’s As- Safir
newspaper said had been in Syria to study reconstruction plans for the northern
city of Aleppo.
Whole districts of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, and
other urban centers across the country, have been destroyed in months of
entrenched urban warfare.
Assad has used air strikes and artillery to
push back rebels, who have become increasingly wellarmed as the conflict
approaches its third year.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards public
relations office said Shateri would be buried in his home town of Semnan after
being “martyred on his way from Damascus to Beirut by mercenaries.”