Major General Issam Zahreddine killed in Deir Ezzor – TTG


“BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:10 P.M.) – The prominent Syrian Arab Army (SAA) officer, Major General Issam Zahreddine, was killed today in Deir Ezzor after his convoy struck a land mine planted by the Islamic State (ISIS). According to a military source, General Zahreddine was conducting a special operation at Saqr Island in Deir Ezzor, when his vehicle struck the land mine.

General Zahreddine was the commander of the elite 104th Airborne Brigade of the Republican Guard that heroically fought off the Islamic State (ISIS) for several years, while under siege and under supplied.The General was born in rural Sweida village of Tarba and was 56 years old at the time of his death."

"The body of the late Major General Zahreddine has arrived in Damascus after being flown from the Deir Ezzor  as Governorate in eastern Syria. While full details about his funeral have not been released, it is believed that his body will be transported to his ancestral village of Tarba in the Al-Sweida Governorate.”  (Al Masdar News)


I have to admit that a tear came to my eye as I put this together. I developed a professional affection for that big bull of a Druze as I read about his exploits over the last few years. Rather than attempt a fitting eulogy, I chose to leave you with the words of Issam Zahreddine’s favorite saying of Imam Ali. It is said that Issam followed these words as his motto.

May his deep laughter be heard throughout all Syria and beyond as his beloved land is fully liberated and his vile enemies are crushed.


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42 Responses to Major General Issam Zahreddine killed in Deir Ezzor – TTG

  1. LG says:

    وَلَا تَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ قُتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَمْوَاتًا ۚ بَلْ أَحْيَاءٌ عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ يُرْزَقُونَ

  2. Serge says:

    He was killed on Sakhr island, this place is a fortress, can anyone explain to me what about it makes it so? ISIS bashed their heads against it again and again losing countless men before it fell piecemeal. SAA are having a tough time at it too even with it being surrounded. RIP

  3. Nightsticker says:

    USMC 65-72
    FBI 72-96

  4. turcopolier says:

    Translation – “Do not count those who were killed in the way of Allah dead, but live with their Lord, they will live” pl

  5. Serge,
    Any place, if heavily mined and even lightly defended, is tough to take.

  6. DidierF says:

    I present my respect to his friends and family.

  7. LeaNder says:

    Me too, TTG, me too, and in hindsight what makes me most angry are the speculations, if he wouldn’t be the best to substitute Assad. If he wouldn’t the vote in post-war Syria. Weren’t there such rumors around here? OK maybe I am hallucinating.
    Major General Zahreddine, R.I.P.

  8. LG says:

    the last bit can also be translated as: they will get “rizq” or get succour/provision

  9. LG says:

    the rumors were about general suheil al hassan.

  10. Bill Herschel says:

    I fervently hope that the cause for which this man fought continues that much strengthened after his death.
    pl continually points out that Syria is a multi-confessional society. That is what responsible and sane members of humanity should be seeking. Religious extremists who have hatred and contempt for other religions are a cancer.

  11. mike says:

    May God grant him rest.

  12. Barish says:

    I recall some piece published in French Le Monde being shared here which speculated on Suhail al-Hassan having such political prospects post-war. I am more inclined towards the sentiment that the only basis for such is speculations and fiction, both regarding Zahr ad-Din and al-Hassan and other current military leaders.
    While not unexpected, it is quite disgusting to see the type of reaction to this news coming from “moderate” corners mostly outside the Syrian theater itself, who cannot even claim that “their” warring party had a part in his death.
    Irregardless of all that: Nur içinde yatsın, komutan.

  13. Grazhdanochka says:

    RIP for this Indomitable Man…
    I suspect though with the relief effort of his steadfast Defense of Dair-ez-Zaur not to mention subsequent Advances since made – This Man will have no trouble resting in Peace. He kept to his pledge and lived just long enough to see his Duties through.
    If one can forgive me I wrote Section of this before in other Previous Thread which I will repeat here in slight Amended Form as I suspect this may become Increasingly Relevant.
    “Word is – Mine
    There would be no shortage of Land Mines in Theatre to make such incidents all to possible. But it is worth to note this would be second major Commander in as many Months of R+6 Forces in Dair-z-Zaur….
    Would be interested to Note if this was indeed Mine or Improvised Explosive or Remote Bomb..
    General Suheil al-Hassan and his Tigers it seems were issued while ago few examples from Russian Park of Italian IVECO LMV – Of primary benefit against Mines and Road Bombs but also relative high Profile”
    Without wishing to Speculate to much in Terms of Culprits – Syrian Government Intrigue, US Coalition Implicitness or else but as the Caliphate Draws its last increasingly feeble Breaths it seems inevitable that some the fighting will follow as we have seen in Chechnya and else where previously a withdrawl from pitched Battle and increased Guerilla, Diversionary Warfare..
    Syrian Military is Officer Heavy as like Soviet Doctrine, and as similar to Iranian Example also it does not shy from Senior Officers serving in direct Action either, protecting them will not be easy – Indeed General Zahreddine probably would eschew what would be contrary to his – ‘Lead from Front’ but this Security, especially for major Heroes of SAA (Like The Tiger) will need Attention.

  14. aleksandar says:

    “All men die, only a few will be remembered”.
    You will be one of them, Issam, The Mad Druze.
    Repose en paix mon frère d’arme.

  15. mike says:

    He was not only a heroic figure. He could also sing and laugh during the worst of times.

  16. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    I second your wishes. Nur icinde yatsin.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  17. Thirdeye says:

    Small consolation perhaps, but holding off the siege then collecting the gratitude of his countrymen during his valedictory tour has to have given him a sense of accomplishment felt only by a miniscule portion of humans. RIP.

  18. Eric Newhill says:

    May Allah grant Sindid Arslan Zahreddine peace now and may his spirit soon smile down on a jihadi free Syria.

  19. Lemur says:

    Major General Issam Zahreddine, a man who stood in the breach and did his duty, no matter the odds he faced, unto death.
    “That is greatness. That is what it means to be a thoroughbred. The honorable end is the one thing that can not be taken from a man.” – Oswald Spengler

  20. mike says:

    Grazhdanochka –
    The smearing has already started. Erdogan’s pet newspaper, Yeni Şafak, has a story out calling him Assad’s killer; and suggesting that he was assassinated by the Syria regime’s Mukhabarat.
    Tomorrow, when suitably chastened, they will probably be blaming the Coalition for planting the mine.

  21. ThomasG says:

    Truly Syria’s Stonewall Jackson. It is saddening to see him go. Thankfully for the rest of us he was there to be one of the rocks to break IS. I imagine that his exploits will be remembered fondly for generations to come.

  22. turcopolier says:

    He waas in my opinion more like Pete Longstreet. Suheil is more like Stonewall. pl

  23. Grazhdanochka says:

    There will no doubt be endless Speculation. Likewise the Winds will blow back and some will suggest Coalition Involvement…..
    All of it to me will suggest the need of the SAA to adapt to Insurgent Warfare even if this is not case of it…..
    It will likely happen and these VIPS need to be protected….
    Something I think of Note, Convoys Ideally Drive in each others Step….
    Ideally (Not ultimately) this means a clear path with first Vehicles taking the Risk…
    Thus a certain measure of concern if a Command Truck etc in a Convoy is the Sole Vehicle of a Land Mine etc…

  24. aka says:

    RIP General.

  25. Balint Somkuti, PhD says:

    Sit tibi terra levis!
    RIP General.

  26. johnf says:

    Something which might have cheered him up:
    “Russian troops take control of key gas field from Kurdish forces in Deir Ezzor”
    This could be part of a wider Russian/US agreement east of the Euphrates.

  27. turcopolier says:

    It didn’t sound that way from what Huckabee-Sanders said at the WH yesterday. She said the Syrian Government forces were in the way of the SDF liberating the country. I wonder if these people believe their own BS. pl

  28. mike says:

    johnf –
    Conoco gas field to my knowledge was being inspected by members of the ‘Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria’ from Khmeimim Air Base. The gas fields as of this morning were not (yet) under control of Russian troops.
    This was supposedly negotiated in Qamishlo. There was a meeting there between SDF leadership with Deputy Russian PM Bogdanov and a Syrian, former head of the Mukhbarat Ali Memluk.

  29. blowback says:

    Actually I suspect the SDF/YPG saw what happened in Kirkuk and did a deal to build up brownie points with the R+6. Is that almost forgotten R+6/SDF co-ordination “office” somewhere out in the desert at work again?

  30. Pacifica Advocate says:

    With tears in my eyes, I ask–reluctantly:
    What is the difference between “mines,” and “IEDs”?
    From my perspective–as an admitted outsider–I don’t know.

  31. turcopolier says:

    There is no real difference. IED is a US military acronym hat implies that a particular mine is homemade. pl

  32. outthere says:

    The SAA Deir-Ezzor Euphrates River Battle: a Tactical Review
    Author: Jim Dean
    The pontoon bridge effort was too little and too late
    We watched in slow motion horror as the pontoon bridges were brought up, but then not quickly put to use. And when they were, the transportation capacity was not enough to supply a sustained advance. Syrian troops got over the river, only to get bogged down fighting ISIS, and then having to watch on their drone TV screens the SDF grabbing all the oilfields, with the Kurdish command stating that it had no intention of ever giving them up with big brother USA backing them up.
    Week after week went by with the tough ISIS holdouts buying their comrades down river enough time to plan a major multi-pronged attack on the Palmyra highway, one that came close to recapturing Sukhnah.
    A major diversion attack was made in Hama province to draw critically needed forces away from the Deir Ezzor front, which was followed by the supply line attacks. Those were dealt with, and the SAA rebounded with its own surprise move by attacking southward down the Euphrates to Al-Mayadin.
    The attack did not slug its way south along the main road, but swung out into the desert down to the outskirts of Mayadin, the home of a major two-lane bridge. Reports indicated that the ISIS supply-line attacks on the Palmyra road has used up much of its defensive power to where ISIS might not be able to mount a siege defense, and the SAA could finally have a big bridge.
    SAA’s Mayadin attack finds the big hole in ISIS defenses
    The SAA took Mayadin more quickly than expected, with an envelopment attack to stretch out ISIS defenses. We learned that ISIS only had enough manpower for one line of defense, and when that was broken, the jihadis fled, leaving house weapons and ammo dumps intact, but with both spans of the two-lane bridge blown. Syrian troops U-turned and quickly cleared all of the western Euphrates back to Deir-Ezzor.
    The big question now is can the SAA capture an intact bridge to get armored forces over the river to drive the SDF out of the area, clear ISIS, and secure as much of the Iraqi border as possible, which is very important for both Syria’s and Iraq’s future security. There is a bridge a bit further south at Al-Asharah. But every mile the SAA advances, the longer it takes to get supplies to its troops.
    I looked at maps of the area, and do not see a bridge at Al-Asharah

  33. mike says:

    PA –
    SDF in Raqqa when trying to restart a water treatment plant first had to clear 230 IEDs in and around the plant. They said it was the Daesh preferred method of fighting in Raqqa. Most IEDS throughout the city were covered by Daeshi sniper fire. Mosul is still being cleared of IEDs.
    It will take years to find every explosive device planted by Daesh and al-Qaeda in Syria and Iraq. They keep no records of locations where they were planted. The United Nations UNMAS organization has mine clearing operations going on currently in 18 different countries. Much of it still going on 40 to 50 years after those mines were planted.

  34. Confusedponderer says:

    an I.E.D. is an improvised explosive device – a self made thing to damage, kill vor wound someone with an explosion. The improvised aspect makes them variable and hard to spot or demine.
    A mine is a serial produced explosive trap that serves the same basic idea – to damage, kill vor wound.
    I.e. be it an I.E.D. or a mine – neither is a thing anyone in mind ever wants to encounter.

  35. notlurking says:

    You’ll never, ever see a current American or Israeli general die in action!

  36. aleksandar says:

    Outhere, interesting but apart the usual smearing about SAA :
    1- Al-Mayadin bridge was destroyed by coalition, not ISIS.
    2 – Thinking that the pontoon bridge in DeZ was to allow the 5 corps or TF to reach the oil fields is pure speculation.
    3 – The author should have envisioned one other explanation, the pontoon bridge was set up only to allow armored vehicle and logistical vehicle to take part in the encirclment of DeZ COA.
    4 – Al-Mayadin bridge has minor damage at each side that can be repaired using metallic span in less than 4 hours. So SAA has the bridge needed.
    5 – It’s impossible to move such a big unit as TF from Hama to Palmyra-DeZ road, so quickly, in less tha a day. ( I have worked on logistical issues 5 years ).
    Conclusion,only a small part of TF was sent to Hama.
    Thus this tactical review is false.
    6 – I go on saying that SAA has good knowledge of SDF capabilities and that SAA does not consider SDF as a force able to oppose R+6.

  37. Sans Racines says:

    Just caught this and knew you’d have written, TTG. May He rest in peace, great soul. We will never forget.

  38. mike says:

    Aleksandar –
    All your points are correct IMO. But the author smeared the YPG also, not just the SAA. No senior Kurdish commander stated that it had no intention of ever giving up the oilfields. Some nameless braggarts on twitter said things like that, but they are probably teenagers sitting in Mom’s basement somewhere in the Kurdish diaspora, Stockholm maybe or Nashville.
    Re your #6: Absolutely! It is fairly common knowledge that the SDF and YPG do not have heavy weapons. No armor except what they took from Daesh and a few lightly armored cars from the coalition. A few AT weapons and probably mortars. Other than that it they are basically an AK-47 force wearing sneakers. There may be a few exceptions but not many.

  39. plantman says:

    A true giant among men…
    I was shocked to the core when I heard the news
    I actually thought he was invincible..
    It’s a terrible loss
    I’m sure his men are badly shaken
    I’m grateful to SST for posting this tribute

  40. Mishkilji says:

    According to his religion, he will not rest in peace. Instead his soul has transmigrated to a new child.

  41. mike says:

    Mishkilji –
    Nothing wrong with that, it has been in many religions. Some of my Celtic and Scandinavian ancestors had the same beliefs.
    And Assad’s Alawites believe that also. Hafez died 17 years ago, wonder where his soul child is and what he is doing. He could have been born as a Christian due to Hafez’s sins.

  42. Pacifica Advocate says:

    Just FYI:
    That’s what I was thinking. Thank you for the personal clarification.

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