Posters of slain Iranian General Qassem Soleimani have emerged in an unlikely place on the 40th day after his killing – Italy.
A pro-Assad group, known as Fronte Europeo per la Siria, said on Wednesday that they had put up the posters as part of a campaign to honor Soleimani’s killing, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported.
Fronte Europeo per la Siria is the Italian branch of the European Solidarity Front for Syria.
The posters, which read “But there is another type of paradise: The battlefield for one’s homeland” with an inscription that said “in honor of Soleimani,” were hung in several Italian cities, including in Rome and Milan.
The Italian campaign “aims to honor the memory a man whose commitment and dedication to the cause of the freedom and sovereignty of nations has moved and inspired millions of free men and women in the world,” the group posted on Facebook.
The Iranian military commander was killed on January 3 in a US airstrike in Baghdad. Iran retaliated by launching dozens of missiles on Iraqi bases hosting US troops.
As the head of the Quds force, Soleimani was responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians in Syria, where he was a key backer of President Bashar al-Assad in his crack-down on the popular uprising since 2011.
The 40 days following a death are significant in Islam. Some Muslims, predominantly those who are Shia, hold a prayer service 40 days after a death.
Rallies were also held in Iran this week to commemorate Soleimani’s killing.
The Muslim population in Italy is just under 5 percent of the total population, according to data from Pew Research Center from 2017.