Syria: Mystery Shrouds Slaying of Iranian Brig. Gen. Hassan Shateri
Mystery still swirls around the assassination of a top Iranian general in war-torn Syria but details are emerging that suggest he was a key figure in Tehran’s campaign to save its beleaguered ally, President Bashar Assad, and in running Hezbollah.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps initially reported that Brig. Gen. Hassan Shateri, 58, one of its commanders, was killed Tuesday in a rebel ambush in Syria near the Lebanese border as he drove to Beirut.
Later reports say he and two aides were killed Monday near Zabadani, a border town where Hezbollah has a major base and arms depot.
But the Free Syrian Army, one of the main rebel forces battling to topple Assad’s minority Alawite regime, claimed Thursday that Shateri, along with several aides, was killed in Israel’s Jan. 30 airstrike on Jamraya, near Zabadani.
There were unconfirmed reports at the time that there had been Iranian casualties in the air raid but FSA officials said the death of Shateri and his officers weren’t disclosed at the time because to have done so would have had “consequences.”