The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has confirmed the death of a senior Iranian Special Forces officer in Syria. Colonel Second Class Mohammad-Reza Zarealvani was a member of the Ground Forces (IRGC-GF) Saberin unit who was killed during an “advisory operation” on Sept. 27, according to a statement by the IRGC’s Ansar al Hossein Corps (Hamedan province).

The IRGC continues to call its regular forces in Syria “advisors,” though the announcements of Iranian fatalities and the engagements of IRGC-backed Shiite militias indicates that IRGC-GF officers lead these forces directly in combat.

The eulogy for Zarealvani claimed he was killed “by the takfiri DAESH (the pejorative acronym for the Islamic State) terrorists [while] defending the shrine of Sayida Zaynab and in defense and strengthening of the Islamic resistance front.” Iranian official propaganda regularly refers to all of the Syrian opposition as “terrorists,” not just the Islamic State or al Qaeda’s affiliates.

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