Iranian Quds Force Commander Qassem Suleimani was recently spotted touring the war-ravaged Syrian city of Aleppo. The Iranian media, including outlets affiliated with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) such as Tasnim News Agency, published several photographs of the once-shadowy commander, who oversees Iran’s war efforts and support for terrorist groups in the Middle East and around the world.
On October 20, the US State Department confirmed that Suleimani’s Aleppo visit violated UN Security Council resolutions regarding the nuclear deal. “He’s one of the designated individuals. No exemption to the travel ban was sought, and so it does constitute a violation of UNSCR 2231. As I said, we will – we fully anticipate bringing this up inside the council,” State Department John Kirby noted.
It is not clear when Suleimani’s photographs were taken, but they were published right after Iranian-led forces seized most of the besieged city of Aleppo and massacred scores of Sunni rebels and civilians.
Since 2011, Suleimani, as the chief commander of the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), has played a pivotal role in mobilizing Iraqi, Lebanese, Afghan and Pakistani Shiite militias to crush rebel forces fighting the ruthless regime of Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, during a visit in Moscow in July 2015, it was Suleimani who convinced the Kremlin to militarily intervene in Syria to save Assad – a development that rapidly changed the balance of power in Assad's favor and resulted in immense human suffering. And since the US military invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq in 2001 and 2003 respectively, Suleimani has also led Iran’s subversive activities in the two countries and been directly and indirectly responsible for the killing of thousands of American, Afghan and Iraqi soldiers and civilians.