Thirteen military advisers with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards have been killed in Syria in recent days and 21 others wounded, Iranian media reported on Saturday.
All were from Iran’s northern province of Mazandaran, Hossein Ali Rezayi, a Guards spokesman in the region, told the ISNA and Fars news agencies.
The casualties happened in Khan Tuman village some 10 kilometres southwest of the battleground city of Aleppo, according to a Guards statement, the official IRNA news agency reported.
Pro-regime troops had driven jihadists out of Khan Tuman in December, but fighting between regime forces and Al-Qaeda- affiliated jihadists and their allies killed more than 70 people south of Aleppo, a monitor said.
Al-Nusra Front and allied Islamists seized Khan Tuman and surrounding villages after less than 24 hours of clashes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Around 30 pro-regime troops were killed in the battle, said the Britain-based Observatory which relies on a network of sources in Syria.
Russia said that a temporary truce in Aleppo had been extended for 72 hours “in order to prevent the situation from worsening”.
More than 300 civilians were killed in two weeks of fighting in the divided city before the truce took hold on Thursday, in regime air strikes on its opposition-held east and rebel shelling of the regime-controlled west.
Iran is Syria’s main regional ally, sending financial and military aid, including military advisers and volunteer forces from Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, to prop up President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Dozens of Iranian “advisers” have been killed in Syria since late 2015, including Revolutionary Guards commanders.