A nationalist coalition has launched a campaign across Italy for slain Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, plastering his face on posters across the country.
Social media users reacted with both incredulity and praise as photos emerged from Rome, Milan and Torino depicting the late general, who was killed in a US air strike in Iraq in January.
One poster, placed on a sign post outside the Colosseum in Rome, read “in honour of Qassem Soleimani”.
Written alongside the photo is: “There is another paradise. That is the battle scene. The battlefield of your homeland.”
The logo on the poster indicates they were put up by the European Solidarity Front for Syria (ESFS), a group of mainly far-right activists who publicly support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Id like to say thank u to all of the countries like #Italy that set our brave #General pic on thier billboard in 40 days later of his terror by #America#International #General #Soleimani#Trump #Rome pic.twitter.com/NbxhzABHvu
— Aliinio (@aliinio) February 13, 2020
On the group’s Facebook page, the group said the campaign spread from “Turin to Palermo, from Bolzano to Naples”, and was aimed at honouring “the memory of a man whose commitment and dedication to the cause of the freedom and sovereignty of nations has moved and inspired millions of free men and women in the world.”
“General Soleimani represented and still represents one of the most important examples of a patriot at the service of that ideal that never in the world, directly or indirectly, a nation could hinder the legitimate autonomy of another nation or oppress a people opposed to it.“
The group described his killing, which took place on 3 January outside Baghdad International Airport, as an “unjustifiable act of barbarism and prevarication”.
The ESFS were founded in 2013, and has been responsible for organising conferences and solidarity trips to Syria in support of Assad.
ESFS also helped organise a “fact-finding” mission for Nick Griffin, former leader of the far-right British National Party.
According to the Syrian state media company SANA, the group travelled to the government stronghold of Tartous on the Syrian coast in 2016 to deliver medical supplies donated by the Syrian community in Italy.