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Activists, Iran website report pro-Iranian Afghan Shiite commander killed in Syrian battle

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BEIRUT — Activists and Iranian media are reporting that the commander of a Shiite Afghan faction has been killed in a battle against Syrian rebels.

The Iranian conservative news website, rajanews.com, says Ali Reza Tavasoli, who led the Fatimiyoun Brigade, was killed Saturday south of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

It said Tavasoli was trusted by Iran's Maj. Gen. Ghasem Soleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guard's elite and secretive Quds Force.

Ahmad al-Masalmeh, a Syrian opposition activist based in the southern city of Daraa, said Wednesday that Tavasoli and other fighters were killed on the strategic Green Hill, which links the southern suburbs of Damascus with the country's Daraa and Quneitra regions.

Shiite fighters from the region are widely known to be fighting on the side of embattled President Bashar Assad's forces.

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