Major General Issam Zahreddine of the Syrian Republican Guard has been reported killed in action according to Al-Masdar News.
The prominent Syrian general who had lead the fight against the Islamic State group for over three years in the city of Deir Ezzor was killed when his convoy struck a landmine planted by the terrorist group in Hawijat Sakr near Deir Ezzor while conducting a special operation.
The report notes that “the General was born in rural Sweida village of Tarba and was 56 years old at the time of his death.”
Zahreddine first served in the Baath Party's People's Militia through conscription from 1980 to 1982 before he was commissioned as an officer in the Airborne Armoured units in 1982. In 1987, he was inducted into the Republican Guard as an officer where he would later achieve the rank of Brigadier General and finally Major General in 2013 due to his efforts during the Syrian Civil War.
He was known by those under his command as a humble leader, often visiting the frontline which left him wounded on one occasion after a bullet struck his leg.
A member of the Druze community in Syria, General Zahreddine was a controversial figure. Among pro-opposition Druze, he was viewed as a traitor, while to supporters of the Syrian government, he was viewed as a patriot.
On September 5, 2017, Zahreddine was congratulated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad following the city’s 3-year long siege for his effort to defend the city from a complete takeover by the Islamic State group. Zahreddine oversaw the first humanitarian aid that entered the city since the beginning of its siege by the Islamic State group.