Soleimani played vital role in fighting terrorists in Syria and Iraq: Russian MoD

Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a US airstrike, had played a vital role in fighting terrorists in Syria and Iraq, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that his death would harm international security.

The ministry slammed the assassination of the Iranian general, carried out on orders from Washington, calling it a “short-sighted” move that would lead to a “rapid escalation” of tensions in the Middle East. It also described Soleimani as a talented and experienced commander, who enjoyed “well-earned authority” throughout the Middle East.

It was under Soleimani’s direct command that military resistance to the international terrorist groups Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) and Al Qaeda was organized in Syria and Iraq, long before the so-called US-led ‘international coalition’ was formed.

In its statement, the ministry called the Iranian general’s achievements in fighting international terrorism “undeniable” and warned that his death would be detrimental to the whole system of global security.

Soleimani was seen as a key strategist, coordinating the efforts of the Iranian advisers assisting both Syrian and Iraqi forces in their fight against terrorists. Iranian media reported that he’d personally assisted Baghdad in several anti-terrorist operations, including the liberation of the strategic city of Tikrit from Islamic State jihadists in 2015.

The general was killed in a US drone strike at Baghdad’s airport, along with Abud Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy head of the Tehran-backed Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) militia and eight other officials. The Pentagon argued its strike was necessary to protect Americans and prevent “future Iranian attack plans.” Iran denounced it as an “act of international terrorism.”

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