Pictures of slain Iran fighters put up on way to Iraq’s shrines
Tehran sticks to policy of exploiting Shiite religious occasions to inflame sectarian sentiments
Through pictures displayed along the streets of the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq, Tehran portrayed the number of Iranian soldiers and militia fighters killed in Syria, which has reached the milestone of 3,000.
It has been an Iranian policy to exploit Shiite religious occasions to inflame sectarian sentiments when millions of devotees flock to the holy cities in Iraq.
The Basij, Iran’s volunteer-based force, announced the display of 3,000 pictures of ‘Defenders of the holy shrines’, as a commemoration for them, on the Karbala and Najaf roads.
Besides, pictures of around 2,800 militants from Afghanistan and Pakistan killed in battle grounds in Syria were also displayed.
Iran calls its casualties in Syria the ‘Defenders of the holy shrines’, since the beginning of Syrian uprising in 2011, thousands of Iranian soldiers and militia fighters have been deployed there to preserve Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power.
Iran never formally divulged its numerous battlefield casualties in Syria, so as not to lay bare the scale and cost of its intervention to preserve al-Assad’s grip on power.
Tehran maintains that it only deploys ‘military advisers’ in Syria.
(The article was first published in the Arabic-language website for Al Arabiya News Channel)
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