A top commander with Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps was reportedly killed inside Syria, shedding more light into the extent of Tehran's military involvement in the over two-year civil war there.
IRGC commander Mohammad Jamali was killed during an attack in Syria, according to the state-run Iranian news outlet Mehr.
The report blamed "terrorists" inside Syria for Jamali's death, calling the military officer a "martyr" who died defending Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque in the Syrian capitol of Damascus.
Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of Iran's Quds Force, an elite unit within the IRGC was also quoted in the Mehr report, praising Jamali's service in the Iranian military.
That said, Tehran has denied that Jamali's presence inside Syria was a sign that Iran's military is increasing its supporting role to government forces loyal to embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.
“We strongly deny having any IRGC and Iranian battalions in Syria. As we have said before, Iran has not deployed any military force in Syria, and we only provide military advisory services for Damascus,” Iranian Brig. Gen. Ramazan Sharif told Mehr on Monday.
Iran and Russia have been the biggest international backers of the Assad regime since war broke out in the country three years ago.
Tehran has been overtly airlifting weapons and supplies to Assad's forces, while also reportedly directing Hezbollah fighters into the country to battle rebel forces.
Last Thursday, Israeli fighter jets launched an airstrike against a Syrian military base known as a missile and weapons storage facility for the Syrian military, according to reports at the time.
Concerns over whether the missiles being housed at the western Syrian site would be handed over to members of the Iranian terror group fighting in the country prompted Israel to take action.