In a surprising yet important visit, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani, traveled to Syria this Thursday to oversee a joint military drill and visited a number of Syrian officials and military commanders.
According to reports from Syrian and Iranian media outlets, the head of Iran’s Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani, paid a surprising yet important visit to Syria to reportedly oversee a joint military drill between Iran and Syria.
The Iranian top military commander also met with a number of military, security, and political officials in Syria as well as public figures in Damascus and visited a number of different military areas of the Arab country to examine the military and security challenges in Syria.
Speaking to a number of Syrian military officials, Ghaani emphasized that the US is the main root of corruption, chaos, terrorism, and strife in Syria, the region, and the world, and also noted that “Syria and Iran are brother countries and have outstanding, all-round and deep strategic relations,” and that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will stand by the Syrian people and leadership in facing the challenges.”
Quds Force, a powerful ally to Syria in the fight against terrorism
The Quds Force is one of the branches of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) that is responsible for international affairs of the IRGC, which was set up in the wake of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 to defend the country’s Islamic system.
Following the illegal assassination of General Qassim Suleimani by the US military under the Trump administration, General Ghaani became the new chief of Iran’s elite Quds Force. The 63-year-old Ghaani, born in the north-eastern city of Mashad, joined the IRGC in 1980, and like General Suleimani, Ghaani is a veteran of the 8-year imposed war between Iran and Iraq that started by the latter invading Iranian border cities in 1980.
Before assassinating General Sulaimani, the Trump administration had placed the Quds Force on its list of foreign terrorist organizations in 2019, but Iran insists its activities abroad are an example of regional cooperation aimed at shoring up stability and blocking Western interference.
Trump’s designation of Quds Force as a terrorist organization was bizarre at the time because Iran has been a major ally of the Syrian government during the more than 12-year civil war in the Arab country and has provided it with economic, political, and military support. Iran’s support, especially through the Quds Force, helped Damascus to effectively fight the ISIS terrorists and claw back most of the territory it lost to them in the early years of the war.