Qassem Suleimani is the chief of a powerful branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guard. He is considered to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American during the Iraq War, and now he is helping to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.
The civil war in Syria is attracting fighters from all over, threatening the region's tenuous stability. Robert Malley of the International Crisis Group tells Fresh Air that "a war in Syria with regional spillover has now become a regional war with a Syrian focus."
The Guardian's Gahaith Abdul-Ahad calls the Syrian battle fluid and complicated. "There is chaos, there is no military planning, there is no organization," he tells Fresh Air. He reported for the PBS Frontline documentary The Battle for Syria, which airs Tuesday.