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Iran Threatens Israel Over IRGC Officers Killed In Syria

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After Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed that two IRGC officers were killed in an Israeli attack in Syria, Tehran vows revenge.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani said Monday that the IRGC forces were in Syria “on an advisory mission,” threatening that “No action against the interests and security of Iran, as well as our advisory forces in Syria, will go unanswered, and this has been proven before.”  

He did not elaborate on when and where Iran has avenged attacks on its forces as the Islamic Republic usually cheers about attacks on American and Israeli targets by its proxy militia across the region but hardly ever claims responsibility for such strikes. 

Since the global outcry against Iran’s support for militant groups has intensified following the onslaught of Israelis by Iran-backed Hamas on October 7, the Islamic Republic authorities, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei himself, claim that the regime has no proxy regional forces. Meanwhile, Iran admits that it provides financial and logistic support for the likes of Hamas but claims it has no say in their operations. Additionally, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has an extra-territorial wing – the Quds (Qods) force, which has either established or funded several such groups. 

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards confirmed Saturday that two of its officers were killed in Syria, after Damascus announced that Israeli airstrikes hit a number of targets near the Syrian capital overnight. The IRGC said Mohammad Ali Atai (Ataei) Shoorcheh and Panah Taghizadeh were “martyred” while on an advisory mission to Syria, blaming the “Zionists” for their death. 

Israeli airstrikes hit several areas on the outskirts of Damascus early Saturday, causing “material losses,” according to Syrian state media. The strikes targeted the southern Damascus suburb of Sayyida Zeinab, where Hezbollah-affiliated forces operate. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported two Syrians and two foreign citizens killed, with five others wounded. 

Late in September, the open-source intelligence social media account Intelli Times announced that Taghizadeh was about to arrive in Syria to help Iran-backed forces in the region. Intelli Times also revealed that the officer was part of Unit 340 of IRGC’s Quds Force.

While Israel’s military does not, as a rule, comment on specific strikes in Syria, it has admitted to conducting hundreds of sorties against Iran-backed forces, including Hezbollah fighters, attempting to gain a foothold in the country over the last decade. The recent surge in attacks aligns with the Israel-Hamas conflict that started in October. 

Since then, Israel has targeted Syria, impacting international airports in Damascus and Aleppo for over a month, likely thwarting the transfer of weapons from Iran to its proxies in Gaza and on Israel’s borders. Iran has played a significant role in supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad throughout the 12-year civil war, deploying fighters to tip the balance in Assad’s favor. Despite Tehran maintaining what it calls a military advisory role, numerous Iranian Revolutionary Guard members have lost their lives in the Syrian conflict.