Iran warns air strike on Syria will not go unanswered

Iran warns air strike on Syria will not go unanswered
# 21 January 2024 05:55 (UTC +04:00)

Iran's president said an air strike on the Syrian capital that killed five senior members of Iran's security forces will not "go unanswered", APA reports.

Ebrahim Raisi said Israel was to blame for the attack, which also killed a number of Syrian forces.

Israel has not commented. For years it has carried out strikes on Iranian-linked targets in Syria.

Such strikes have intensified since the Israel-Gaza war began following Hamas's 7 October attacks on Israel.

In a statement posted on the president's officials website, Mr Raisi expressed his condolences to the families of the "high-ranking martyrs".

He vowed to avenge their deaths, and described the attack as a "cowardly assassination of five of Iran's most distinguished advisors".

The statement described the strike as "terrorist and criminal" and said it "shows the height of [Israel's] desperation and weakness against the combatants of the resistance front".

"It will not remain unanswered," said the statement.

Iran's foreign ministry said the attacks were an "aggressive and provocative" act by Israel, urging international actors to condemn them.

Senior figures among the Iranian Revolutionary Guard - a major military, political and economic force in Iran - have been present in Syria since the civil war began there in 2011, helping to support the regime of President Bashar al-Assad against widespread rebellion to his rule.

Saturday's attack took place in the Mazzeh neighbourhood, south-west Damascus, an area home to a military airport, as well as the UN headquarters in Damascus, embassies and restaurants.

Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency said the attacks killed the IRGC's Syria intelligence chief and his deputy, as well as other Guard members.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based campaign group, said 10 people were killed in the strikes, including leaders of the Revolutionary Guard.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency quoted a military source as saying it had managed to stop some of the missiles, but that the attacks - which it said had hit a residential building - killed and injured some civilians. Buildings were also destroyed, it said.

A resident told AFP news agency that they saw "explosions" in the western Mazzeh area and "a large cloud of smoke".

"The sound was similar to a missile explosion, and minutes later I heard the sound of ambulances," he added.

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