Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani in Aleppo to oversee Iran 'earthquake aid efforts'

Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani in Aleppo to oversee Iran 'earthquake aid efforts'
Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, a Syrian regime ally, says it is providing relief efforts in Syria following the devastating earthquake on Monday that has killed almost 20,000 people.
3 min read
09 February, 2023
Iran, an ally of the Syrian regime, has sent aid following the earthquake [Getty]

Quds Force commander Esmail Qaani is in Aleppo to oversee Iranian relief efforts in Syria, which was affected by the devasting 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the region last Monday.

The head of the expeditionary force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) arrived at Aleppo's regime-controlled airport on Wednesday before supervising an aid delivery to the earthquake-hit areas, in footage distributed by media sources affiliated with the Iranian military.

Qaani seldom makes public appearances abroad. The IRGC and allied foreign militias have been key to the Assad regime's fightback against the Syrian rebels, and are accused of sectarian killing and other war crimes. 

Later that day, Qaani was seen entering a centre, set up by Iran in Aleppo, where he was accompanied by people who were presumed to be IRGC affiliates.

Iranian state media outlet PressTV claimed that Qaani personally visited homes affected by the earthquake and was updated on the IRGC's work in Syria. Iran has sent three planeloads of aid to Syria, according to regime media.

On Tuesday, four tonnes of medical and food assistance arrived at the regime-controlled Damascus Airport, via an airline affiliated with the IRGC, according to the semi-official Mehr News agency.

The same agency said that at least five batches of humanitarian aid from Iran have arrived in Syria, as of Thursday.

The death toll of the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria has climbed to at least 19,300 on Thursday, while rescue efforts to find possible survivors continue amid freezing temperatures.

Many Arab and Western countries are also sending millions of dollars worth of aid to both countries.

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Another regime ally, Russia, has also reportedly sent aid to Syria via its military base of Hmeimim in Latakia province on Tuesday, according to the pro-regime outlet Al-Mayadeen.

The IRGC and its branches have been designated as a terrorist organisation by a number of countries, including the US.

Iran has been condemned for its active role in the Syrian war and its support for Bashar Al-Assad's regime.

The Quds Force is responsible for Iran's military operations abroad.

Tehran has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to Syria following the 2011 uprising that turned into a devastating conflict, in a bid to keep Assad in power amid the regime’s persistent crackdown on protesters and opposition strongholds.

Close to 500,000 thousand Syrians have been killed and millions more displaced mostly as a result of regime bombardment of civilian areas. 

Additionally, Iran has supplied the Syrian regime with economic relief in a bid to help it thwart the effects of Western-imposed sanctions.

The IRGC continues to be present in Syria, though its troops insist on calling themselves "military advisers", rather than fighters.