TEHRAN, May 10, (AFP): Jihadists are withholding the bodies of 12 Iranian Revolutionary Guards killed last week in Syria, an Iranian military official said Tuesday, quoted by ISNA news agency. According to Iranian media, 13 Revolutionary Guards military advisers died last week in fighting in Khan Tuman, southwest of the battleground city of Aleppo, and 21 others were wounded.
It was Iran’s biggest loss of forces within a very short period, based on official figures. All were from Iran’s northern province of Mazandaran. “The Takfiris (extremists) are holding 12 bodies of the Mazandaran martyrs,” said Hossein Ali Rezayi, a Guards spokesman in the region. “As fighting is still ongoing in this region, the repatriation will be possible only after the liberation of those areas.” Rezayi said that all other members of the forces from Mazandaran, as well as nine of the injured, had now returned to Iran.
Pro-regime troops had driven jihadists out of Khan Tuman in December, but on Friday al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists of the Al-Nusra Front and their allies retook the area, with dozens killed from both sides. Elsewhere, three people were killed Tuesday and 42 others wounded when a car bomb attack blamed on Kurdish militants struck a police vehicle in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, officials said. The armoured minibus was carrying detainees accused of “terror” crimes when the car bomb exploded in the centre of Diyarbakir, the office of the regional governor said in a statement