Iranian General Qassem Soleimani arrived at the Damascus airport in a vehicle with dark-tinted glass. Four soldiers from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards rode with him. They parked near a staircase leading to a Cham Wings Airbus A320, destined for Baghdad.
Neither Soleimani nor the soldiers were registered on the passenger manifesto, according to a Cham Wings airline employee who described the scene of their departure from the Syrian capital to Reuters.
Soleimani avoided using his private plane because of rising concerns about his own security, said an Iraqi security source with knowledge of Soleimani’s security arrangements.
The passenger flight would be Soleimani’s last. Rockets fired from a US drone killed him as he left the Baghdad airport in a convoy of two armoured vehicles.
Also killed was the man who met him at the airport: Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy head of Iraq’s Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), the Iraqi government’s umbrella group for the country’s militias.