Iran point man wounded in Syria marks change of tide

by:Shahriar Kia
For nearly 5 years the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force’s notorious chief Qassem Suleimani has been spearheading Iran’s full-pledged support for the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad. This shadowy figure has been the symbol of Tehran’s infamous plots in Syria, and reports have also indicated Suleimani was running the show and issuing orders to senior Syrian generals and political officials, and at times, even Assad himself. Enjoying the full support of and reporting only to Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei, Suleimani had unimaginable authority in Syria. That is why a recent report of the Quds Force chief being severely injured in clashes south of Aleppo has sounded major alarm bells in Tehran, and the entire region.

According to reports obtained by the Iranian opposition from inside the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Suleimani was severely wounded around two weeks ago in clashes south of Aleppo. He suffered many wounds, including shrapnel in the head and is currently in serious conditions. Suleimani’s vehicle, used to supervise over military operations conducted by the IRGC and other forces in the area south of Aleppo, came under heavy fire by the moderate Free Syrian Army that enjoys support from the West.

Following the wounds he suffered, Suleimani was immediately transferred by IRGC choppers to Damascus and after initial medical care he was taken to Tehran. In the Iranian capital he was hospitalized in the IRGC’s “Baghiyatollah Hospital” located in Tehran’s Mulla-Sadra Avenue. To this day he has undergone two surgeries, sources say. He is currently held in the CCU of the seventh floor of this hospital, known as Section C7 and has been banned from any visits. The team of physicians following up on his condition is led by a neurologist by the name of Dr. Gholamreza Farzanegan. Dr. Alireza Jalali, head of Baghiyatollah Hospital, is keeping a direct and close watch over Suleimani. Dr. Amir Davoudi is chief of Section C7 and senior IRGC officer Sheikhi is head of Section C7 coordination.

The IRGC counterintelligence branch has imposed strict restrictions and regulations to prevent any leakage of information about Suleimani’s injuries and all hospital personnel are banned from answering any questions regarding his condition. The Mullahs are terrified that reports of Suleimani’s serious wounds would result in a major loss in spirit for all their IRGC members and militia proxy forces fighting in Syria. Already suffering many casualties during the past two months, the IRGC forces are currently in critical status with no light at the end of the tunnel.

As the Syrian people’s revolution will soon enter its sixth year, the Iranian leader and IRGC are facing a series of defeats despite resorting to allocating all their military, economic and political assets in the war against the Syrian people and their revolution. Each day more and more bodies of IRGC fighters are transferred to various districts across Iran, and scores more dead are abandoned in liberated areas of Syria.

These defeats, starting in early 2015, have been escalating ever since and left the Mullahs no choice but to beg Russia for help to prevent the fall of Assad. Iran was hoping with heavy air support provided by Russia its IRGC and paramilitary proxies such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi militias, hired mercenaries from Afghanistan and Pakistan could rush to the support of what is left of the Assad regime. However, despite the heaviest indiscriminate airstrikes and the massacre of thousands of civilians in the past two months, the Mullahs in Iran have been left with nothing but an unprecedented increase in the dead bodies of IRGC fighters, including a large number of senior officers such as brigadier generals. Even their alliance with Russia has become uneasy.

The critical wounding of Quds Force chief Qassem Suleimani is probably the most significant blow suffered by Iran in Syria. This marks the change of tide as it shows how vulnerable Iran’s most senior officers are in Syria, and how desperate the situation is for Tehran as it is forced to send its most dedicated officials to maintain Assad in power in Syria.

It is high time for the West to make a decision once and for all in supporting the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups in Syria, and stick by their word of saying Assad must go. This will send a critical message to Iran that the change of tide has very much arrived

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