Iranian national killed in Syria amid peace talks
Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 3
By Khalid Kazimov - Trend:
Another Iranian national has reportedly been killed in armed clashes with Syrian opposition groups.
The dead Iranian, Hamid Fatemi, also known as Mombeini, was from the southern province of Khuzestan and was engaged in "cultural activities", Mizan news website, which is close to the Iranian judiciary, reported on Nov. 2.
The report did not mention whether he was a member of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and no details were published about his military rank. However, Tehran describes Iranian and foreign nationals dispatched to Syria and Iraq to support Baghdad and Damascus as "the defenders of the holy shrines".
Aimed at putting an end to the Syrian civil war, the allies and opponents of President Bashar are planning to resume peace talks within two weeks, after the first round of talks held in Vienna on Oct. 30 failed to reach agreement on al-Assad's fate.
During the late October peace talks, Tehran expressed support for the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while rival Saudi Arabia demanded al-Assad and Iranian-backed troops leave the country.
Reacting to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir's recent remarks accusing Iran of meddling in Syria, Senior Iranian negotiator Hossein Amir Abdollahian criticized Saudi Arabia's approach in dealing with the ongoing Syrian crisis and said Tehran would quit the talks if no progress was made.
Iran denies that it has deployed soldiers to fight in Syria, and says it only provides the Syrian army with military advisers.
Tehran further says deploying military advisers to Syria is aimed at protecting Iran's national security and preventing war inside the country.
Iran has officially confirmed that the number of casualties in the Syrian war has increased, with unconfirmed reports suggesting that some 30 Iranian servicemen have been killed in Syria over the past month.
The Islamic Republic views the Syrian regime as a main strategic ally in the region and as part of an "axis of resistance" against Israel.