IRGC Parade in Tehran. Image Credit: YPA, CC-BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

The head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ elite Quds Force, Esmail Ghaani, visited Syria last week to oversee a joint military drill, according to Iranian media reports.

Ghaani, who was appointed following a US drone strike against his predecessor, Qassem Soleimani, in 2020, reportedly met senior Syrian officials in Damascus last Thursday.

They held discussions on ways to “confront the military and security challenges facing Syria” and supervised a joint Iran-Syria military exercise.

Ghaani also praised Syria and Iran’s “brotherly relations” and said Iran “will stand by the Syrian people and leadership in facing its challenges”.

The Quds Force is the foreign operations arm of the IRGC

The US placed the IRGC on its list of foreign terrorist organisations in 2019.

Despite reports in early January that the UK government would do the same, the UK government has consistently refused to do the same, despite support from across the political spectrum.

Labour endorsed proscription of the IRGC, and proposed legislation to enable the move, more than nine months ago.