Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has issued a message on the second anniversary of Qasem Soleimani’s killing, saying that the United States targeted him because he was spreading “the spirit of sacrifice” in the region.
Special Adviser to the Syrian Presidency Bouthaina Shaaban read out Assad’s message on Thursday, noting that Soleimani was an obstacle hindering the realization of Washington’s plans for the Middle East.
“Soleimani was a danger to the interests of Washington and its allies in the region” the statement read, adding that in each mission, Soleimani tried to destroy the foundations of the US strategy.
Soleimani intervened early in Syria in 2011, as opposition to Assad was gaining momentum, and began giving advice and support for military confrontation with opponents. Later he spearheaded Iran’s large-scale military intervention in the civil war. Some see him as responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians.
Shaaban stressed that Soleimani “loved Syria”, which will be “the beacon of resistance”, and will continue the war in the economic and cultural fronts in honor of the blood of “martyr Soleimani”.
“We must remain loyal to Soleimani and work to increase cooperation between Syria and Iran”, she added.
Soleimani, who was Iran’s top military and intelligence operator in the Middle East, was killed by a targeted US drone strike on January 3, 2020, directly ordered by former US president Donald Trump.