Iran vows revenge after Israeli attack on Damascus

 Iran vows revenge after Israeli attack on Damascus
Israel has hit Damascus' Mezzeh neighbourhood in latest aggression. / bne IntelliNews
By bne IntelIiNews January 20, 2024

Israel has killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) military officials in a missile strike on Damascus early on January 20, according to Iranian and Syrian media.

The Israeli strike happened in the Mezzeh neighbourhood of western Damascus, an area known for housing several embassies, including those of Lebanon and Iran, video released on the Aparat page shows.

"Hojatollah Omidvar, Ali Aghazadeh, Hossein Mohammadi, Saeed Karimi, and Mohammad Amin Samadi achieved the exalted rank of martyrdom today in an Israeli attack on Damascus," Iranian media wrote. 

"In the wake of this morning's (January 20) attack by the criminal Zionist regime's fighter jets on Damascus, the capital of Syria, which resulted in the martyrdom of four military advisors of the IRGC and the defenders of the sanctuary, and the injury of several others," the Public Relations department of the IRGC admitted in a later statement.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi named Israel in the attack: "Undoubtedly, the continuation of such terrorist and criminal actions, which reflect the increasing failure and defeat of the illegitimate Zionist regime [Israel] in achieving its vile goals and the depth of its desperation and helplessness in the face of the fighters of the resistance front, will not remain unanswered by the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The strike on the pro-Iranian Syrian capital is part of a broader escalation in the region between Iran and Israel that has rapidly escalated in just the last week, including a large-scale Israeli offensive in Gaza that has resulted in more than 21,000 deaths in three months in Gaza alone.

The last week has been marred by missile and counter-missile strikes in several countries in the region, although most of the participating countries still want to avoid a full-scale pan-regional war, say experts.

Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi wrote on social media: “The assassination of another commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria signifies that war, like an encroaching vine, is permeating the Middle East.”

In the past month, an Israeli airstrike in a Damascus suburb led to the death of Iranian general Seyed Razi Mousavi, who was associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and active in Syria. Israel's military actions in Syria have frequently targeted individuals and groups from Palestine and Lebanon over recent years.

Israel has conducted numerous airstrikes in Syria in the last week, mainly in areas under government control, focusing on Iran-supported militant groups such as Hezbollah from Lebanon, which supports Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime.

Israel has yet to comment on the Syrian strikes but rarely confirms its operations in Syria, maintaining that its strikes are aimed at military targets associated with “terrorist” groups.

Earlier in the month, a strike in Beirut, attributed to Israel, resulted in the death of Saleh Arouri, a senior Hamas commander.

Syria-Israel tensions have been exacerbated by rocket attacks from Syria into northern Israel and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights and attacks in the Red Sea by the Houthi rebels of Yemen, who Iran backs.