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Iranian officials blame Aleppo cease-fire violations for military casualties

Iranian officials blame Syrian opposition groups for violating the cease-fire to attack Iranian forces in Syria.

On May 6, Iranian social media accounts that monitor the Syrian civil war began to share pictures of Iranian soldiers who were killed and captured at the hands of an anti-government Islamist alliance in Khan Tuman, in southwest Aleppo. The attack and heavy losses — one of the largest single-day losses for Iran — startled even social media users who support Iran’s involvement in the war. While some accounts blamed a “Russia-imposed cease-fire” for allowing its soldiers to be caught off guard, other accounts immediately began sharing dated pictures of Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani, implying he had been sent to the area for reinforcement.

Iranian media and officials immediately went on the offensive to explain the strategic importance of Khan Tuman, giving subsequent reports of heavy opposition losses in the attack — which included al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra fighters — and reassurances of Iran’s commitment to the government of Bashar al-Assad.

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