Qasem Soleimani (Persian: قاسم سلیمانی, born 11 March 1957) is a major general in the Iranian Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (IRGC) and since 1998 commander of its Quds Force—a division primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.A veteran of the Iran–Iraq war, he has been active in many conflicts in the rest of the Middle East, especially in Iraq and the Levant. His methods have been a blend of military intervention through ideological proxies and hard-nosed strategic diplomacy. The Quds Force has long provided military assistance to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian Territories. After the United States invasion of Iraq, Suleimani has always had political and military influence in the Iraq through the Shia & Kurdish Political Parties; who rebelled against Saddam in the 1991 uprising in Iraq. Iran had armed equipped the rebels against Saddam.In 2012, Soleimani helped bolster the Syrian government, a key Iranian ally, during the Syrian Civil War. Soleimani also assisted in the command of combined Iraqi government and Shia militia forces that advanced against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in 2014–2015.
In 2015 Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory - with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iranian-Russian alliance in support of Assad. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. "Putin reportedly told the envoy 'Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani'. Gen. Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria. Soleimani, who assumed overall command in the Aleppo offensives of 2015, had a decisive impact on the theatre of operations and led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east. By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies has advance deep into the southern countryside of Aleppo capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many town and villages fell into government hands. Soleimani reportedly commanded the Syrian Army’s 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kataebat Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers). In response to reports about his injury or death during offensive in the southwest of Aleppo, he responded as "martyrdom is what I seek in mountains and valleys but isn’t granted yet".