As humanitarian hardships worsen and violent conflict spreads like wildfire, the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad struggles to maintain its authority. On Friday, Iranian general Hossein Hamedani and 20 other victims were killed by an ISIS-planted car bomb in Aleppo, Syria.
The loss of Hamedani has proven to be a ‘psychological blow’, according to one U.S. official. Indeed, Hamedani was essential to the war effort for al-Assad and against ISIS. Second-in-command to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and an influential individual, he had been involved in the Syrian conflict since before it had truly began over four years ago and was knowledgeable in all of its facets and details. Hamedani was a key adviser to the Syrian military and freely offered his drilling experience.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the late Hamedani on his service to Iran and commented on the loss. This statement was reported throughout the nation via news media.
It is interesting to note that the U.S. and Iran, although coexisting peacefully in their wartime efforts against ISIS, have different goals. While the U.S. and its coalition are anti-regime and support Syrian rebels for humanitarian reasons, Iran is pro-regime and closely allied with al-Assad. Evidence appears to lend credit to the theory that Iran helped broker the recent Russian ground invasion of Syria, as well, much to the chagrin on the U.S. This political divergence may prove to be detrimental as the fight against ISIS draws closer its finish, and the question about the next step arises.
However, the there is no end in sight in the Syrian conflict. If anything, the conflict only grows thicker as rebels switch sides and politics grows more entangled by the day. One can only hope that the U.S. and Iran focus on their mutual enemy – ISIS – for the time being and turn their attention to al-Assad’s regime later down the road.