An Iranian general has been killed near Aleppo, where he was advising the Syrian army on their battle against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (DAESH ) fighters, the guards said in a statement.
Daesh fighters have seized Syrian villages on the outskirts of Aleppo from rival insurgent fighters, a monitoring group said on Friday, despite Russian air strikes that Moscow says have targeted the militant group.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps said separately one of its senior commanders had been killed this week near Aleppo, Syria’s main northern city. Iran, an ally of the Syrian government, says it has advisory missions in the country but no military forces.
Daesh is now within 2 km of government-held territory on Aleppo’s northern edge, the closest they have been to the city.
Daesh said its fighters had captured five villages in its offensive and killed “more than 10 apostates”, a term it uses to describe Syrian soldiers.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it was the biggest advance by Daesh since it launched an offensive against rebels in the northern Aleppo countryside near the Turkish border in late August.
Russian jets and warships have been bombarding targets across Syria for 10 days in a campaign which Moscow says is targeting Daesh.
But the campaign appears to have mainly struck other rebel groups, some of which had been battling to stop Daesh advance across Aleppo province. One of those groups, Liwa Suqour Al-Jabal, said the Russian strikes destroyed their main weapons depot.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps said one of its generals, Hossein Hamedani, had been killed near Aleppo late on Thursday. Hamedani was a veteran of the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war and was made deputy chief commander of the elite forces in 2005.