Soleimani’s movements along Syrian map documented with illustrations
Enab Baladi – Ahmed Jamal
The first photos taken of the corpse of the Iranian commander of the Quds Force, Qassem Soleimani, following his death in US raids on January 3, in Baghdad, showed that he was carrying Syrian currency, which may indicate that he was in Syria before his arrival in Iraq.
The Los Angeles newspaper confirmed that the US intelligence knew that Soleimani was on a trip in the Middle East to plan attacks against US facilities, and that he would go from Damascus to Baghdad within days.
The newspaper explained that Soleimani’s trip from Syria to Baghdad was no secret, as he planned to hold meetings with Iraqi officials.
This was not Soleimani’s first visit to Syria, as dozens of photos and video recordings documented his participation, accompanied by Iranian militias, in battles in most of the Syrian regions during the previous years, fighting alongside the Syrian regime forces.
Last recordings in southern Syria
The latest video recordings, broadcasted by the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen channel, after Soleimani’s killing, showed the Iranian general, accompanied by the prominent leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah, Mustafa Badreddine, supervising the battles in southern Syria.
The two leaders, Soleimani and Badreddine, appeared in the battle operations room facing a screen showing the map of the battles taking place in Quneitra Governorate, southern Syria while giving orders and military instructions to field commanders in the region.
Al-Mayadeen did not specify the date of Soleimani’s visit to the region and his meeting with Badreddine; however, the latter was also killed on May 13, 2016, in an air raid near Damascus International Airport, according to the statement of Hezbollah at the time.
The Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida reported in January 2019 that Soleimani had paid another visit to the town of Eastern Ghariyah in Daraa countryside, south of Syria, in the aftermath of the accord signed between Russia, the US and Israel on deporting Iranian forces 40 kilometers from the Israeli border.
Al-Jarida quoted unnamed sources saying that Soleimani’s visit to Eastern Ghariya took two hours, and coincided with the fall of Israeli missiles from the Syrian side on Israeli territory, in line with official Israeli accusations against Iranian militia of bombing a resort inside the occupied Golan Heights at that time.
Deir Ez-Zor and al-Bukamal…Linking point to Soleimani’s project
In October 2017, Qassem Soleimani appeared in the city of Deir Ez-Zor in eastern Syria, accompanied by the Brigadier General of the Republican Guard and commander of the Syrian regime’s operations in the city, Issam Zahreddine, and other officers, in a photo circulated on social media accounts known to be close to Zahreddine, days after the latter was killed by a bombing in the region.
Soleimani also appeared in many photos during his visits to Al-Bukamal area on the Syrian-Iraqi border, accompanied by Iranian militias controlling the region, most notably photos published by Al-Nujaba Movement, on November 17, 2017.
Hama countryside.. on front lines
Qassem Soleimani visited Hama countryside several times during the battles of the Syrian regime against the opposition factions. The Iranian leader appeared in a photo with a soldier of the Syrian regime that the latter posted on his Facebook account, on 6 April 2017.
In another photo, published on pro-regime social media accounts, Soleimani appeared in 2019 with Lieutenant Colonel Duraid Awad, nicknamed “Tiger’s Fire,” and a battle leader in the Hama and Idlib countrysides.
He supervised battles in Aleppo center
Soleimani also visited Aleppo many times during previous years, and supervised the battles of the eastern neighborhoods in the city, which led to the opposition’s exit from the area permanently in late 2016.
The photos released by close associates of the Syrian regime documented Soleimani’s presence in the center of Aleppo and in front of its Citadel. The most prominent of these were photos published by Al-Nujaba Movement in September 2017, showing Soleimani alongside militias in the southern countryside of Aleppo.
The photos were accompanied by a report of Al-Nujaba Movement at the time, indicating that Soleimani “inspected the Islamic resistance sectors” of the movement and praised the progress in the southern and eastern countrysides of Aleppo.
The Iranian Tasnim agency also published photos of Soleimani during his visit to the Iranian militias, in the presence of Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and the Syrian regime forces in Latakia countryside in October 2015.
With Grand Mufti Hassoun
Soleimani also appeared with the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun, on a plane in August 2016, without further specifications about their location.
Without specifying the location
On October 15, 2019, the Iranian Al-Alam channel aired a video recording, which was previously published by the Iranian Quds Force, showing Soleimani supervising the battles taking place in Syria; however, no details about his location were given.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, criticized the movements made by Soleimani between Iraq and Syria, in a report submitted to the UN Security Council on December 12, 2017. Guterres condemned Soleimani’s “violation” of international law, and his recurrent visits to both countries despite the imposition of a travel ban under UN resolutions.
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