Media reports indicate an attack on the headquarters of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the “Sayyidah Zainab” area in southern Damascus.
Iranian and Syrian sources claim the attack was launched by Israel, but there is no official acknowledgement about who was behind the missile strike. Syrian state media, blaming Israel, said that “a number of Iranian advisers” were killed, in a rare acknowledgment by Damascus of Iranian casualties in Israeli strikes on Syrian territory.
The reported attack followed the killing of three US soldiers overnight on Sunday when Iran-backed militia forces fired a drone at an American base on the Jordanian-Syrian border.
Al-Arabiya network has identified the targeted location in Syria as the command center of forces affiliated with the Islamic Republic. Reuters, citing a source close to Iran, reported that the attack targeted a base used by the IRGC. Later, Iran’s ambassador to Syria denied that the IRGC headquarters was hit, while Tasnim news agency in Tehran affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards did confirm the target.
Following this attack, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s state television reported the deaths of two individuals, describing the attack as occurring in a “residential area.” State media added that “a residential building in the Aqraba area near Zainabiyah” was the target.
A source in Iran’s regional alliance told Reuters the strike had hit a location used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. However, it is not clear who launched the attack. Israel has also been targeting Iran-affiliated military sites for years.
US President Joe Biden on Sunday vowed to retaliate against the attack, as lawmakers and former US officials expressed outrage at the deadly attack, which they see as an Iranian declaration of war.
US troops in Iraq and Syria have been facing constant missile and drone strikes since last October when Israel began its onslaught on Gaza in response to Hamas’ rampage of the Israeli border communities. This is the first time, however, that such strikes have resulted in loss of American life – which many in Washington consider to be a red line.
The loss of life, after repeated warnings by his Iran policy critics, has left Biden with very little option but to escalate.