Syria ‘humiliating’ expulsion of IRGC commander points to unravelling ties

The Syrian regime’s expulsion of the top IRGC commander in Syria, Mostafa Javad-Ghaffari, is a severe setback to the Iranian regime and its agenda, analysts said.

The Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad expelled Javad-Ghaffari in late October.

Javad-Ghaffari, the architect of the Iranian plan in Syria who earned the moniker “the Butcher of Aleppo” for his brutality during the battle in that city, was in charge of the IRGC’s proxies in Syria.

These militias, which operate outside the control of the Syrian regime, have been accused of using excessive force during operations carried out under Javad-Ghaffari’s command.

Syrian resentment of the IRGC’s leaders and policies had been on the rise for some time and reached a peak last year with the decision to expel Javad-Ghaffari, Syrian lawyer Bashir Al-Bassam told Al-Mashreq.

“Javad-Ghaffari took advantage of his considerable influence to consolidate the IRGC’s control over many Syrian regions,” he said, noting that this was done “under the pretext of protecting shrines, airports and military sites”.

The IRGC commander and its affiliates have gradually established a presence in Aleppo, the eastern desert (Badiya), and parts of Deir Ezzor, as well as Damascus and its hinterland, sidelining the Syrian regime in the process.

Yet Javad-Ghaffari was not satisfied with all the control he had, al-Bassam said.

He had become heavily embroiled in corruption, he said, and was involved in smuggling goods from Iran to Syria, a lucrative enterprise which was damaging to the Syrian economy, he said.

‘Public, humiliating expulsion’

Javad-Ghaffari’s unpopularity was an open secret, al-Bassam said.

And his role in Syria “was essential to implementing the IRGC’s plan in Syria”, Syrian journalist Mohammed al-Abdullah told Al-Mashreq.

“Syria was and continues to be a strategic fulcrum for establishing a land corridor from Tehran to Beirut,” he said.

“Any disruption to the relationship with Syria would undermine this plan.”

Also Read: Iran IRGC-backed militias in Iraq and Syria a threat to middle-east security

Latest news
Related news