Iran accuses Israel of killing two Revolutionary Guards in Syria

Tehran vows to take revenge for strike that left six others wounded

Iranian troops during a military exercise. The Revolutionary Guard says two of its members were killed in an Israel attack on the suburbs of Damascus. AFP
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Two officers in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed in an Israeli attack in Syria this week, Iran said while vowing to avenge their deaths.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor, said on Monday that the Israeli strikes killed two pro-Iran militiamen and wounded six others.

The target of the strikes was “a weapons and ammunition depot operated by Iran-backed militias near Damascus international airport”, the Observatory said.

The IRGC's Sepah News website said: “Guard colonels Ehsan Karbalaipour and Morteza Saidnejad were martyred, a crime committed by the Zionist regime, during a rocket attack on the suburbs of Damascus, Syria, yesterday morning.”

Israel “will pay for this crime”, it said.

Both Iran and Russia have provided financial and military support to President Bashar Al Assad's regime since Syria's conflict began in 2011.

Syrian state media said the Israeli missiles killed two civilians, which the Observatory, which relies on an extensive network of sources inside Syria, said it could not confirm.

Tehran says it has stationed its forces in Syria at the invitation of Damascus and only as advisers.

This is not the first time Iran has accused Israel of killing members of its armed forces in Syria. In 2018, Tehran said four military “advisers” were killed during Israeli “aggression” in central Syria.

The IRGC had also previously announced the death of some of its members who were “on a mission” in Syria.

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According to the Observatory, Israel has carried out raids in Syria at least seven times this year.

Last month, Israeli raids near the capital killed two Syrian soldiers and four Iran-backed militiamen, the Observatory said.

Since civil war broke out in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air strikes inside the country as it focuses on government positions, as well as allied Iran-backed forces and fighters from Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah.

While Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria, it has acknowledged mounting hundreds of them since 2011.

The Israeli military has defended them as necessary to prevent its arch-foe Iran from gaining a foothold on its doorstep.

The conflict in Syria started with the brutal repression of peaceful protests before escalating and pulling in foreign powers and global extremists. It has killed about 500,000 people.

Updated: March 09, 2022, 7:49 AM