Aftermath of an Israeli strike on a building in southern Damascus, Syria, reportedly killing four Iran Revolutionary Guards and several Assad regime troops, January 20, 2024 (Louai Beshara/AFP)
UPDATE, FEB 21:
Israel has again carried out airstrikes in southern Damascus, near the position of Iranian and Assad regime forces.
A regime military official said two people were killed and one injured in a residential area. Photos showed the strike on the fourth floor of a 10-story building, with shattered window glass on others and damage to dozens of parked cars. An empty parked bus for a private school was also damaged, with parents rushing to find their children.
UPDATE, FEB 5:
The latest Revolutionary Guards officer killed in Israel’s airstrikes on Iranian positions in southern Damascus has been identified.
Additional information on the Iranian "advisor" killed 2 days ago in Israeli airstrike in Syria:
– Expert in drone warfare
– Worked in Masyaf's Scientific Research Complex
– Recently arrived in Damascus
– Israel killed his brother, an IRGC General, in 2015https://t.co/c8r6AtR8yY https://t.co/zoHcoWjQxf
— QalaatM (@QalaatM) February 4, 2024
UPDATE, FEB 2:
Another member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has been killed in the latest Israeli airstrike on Iranian positions in the south of Syria’s capital Damascus.
Iranian media confirmed the fatality. Unconfirmed claims said three Iranians or Iran-backed militiamen were slain.
The Assad regime’s military reported damage from Israeli missiles, fired from over the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights about 4:20 a.m., but did not mention casualties.
UPDATE, FEB 1:
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have reportedly withdrawn senior officers from Syria because of Israel’s deadly strikes, say “five sources familiar with the matter”.
A “senior regional security official briefed by Tehran” said senior Iranian commanders and dozens of mid-ranking officers have left.
The sources said the Guards will rely more on local Shia militia, overseen by Tehran, to maintain influence. The Iranians, with the help of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, will oversee operations remotely.
The militia have stepped up attacks on US personnel, including this week’s attack killing three troops on an outpost in Jordan.
Three of the sources said Iran is scaling back its high-level presence in part to avoid a direct confrontation with the US, Israel, or others in the Middle East.
The Iranians, who are based in southern Damascus, are relocating operational sites and officers’ residences amidst concerns of an intelligence breach.
UPDATE, JAN 21:
Iran-backed militias fired ballistic missiles and rockets on US personnel on bases in western Iraq, hours after Israel’s killing of five Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria’s capital Damascus.
US officials said most munitions were intercepted, but some got through defenses. Personnel were wounded, with some personnel “are undergoing evaluation for traumatic brain injuries”, usually a reference to concussion.
The Iran-based Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an Iran-backed militia group, claimed responsibility. It cited American “occupation forces” in the region and the “Zionist entity’s massacres” against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
The militias have regularly fired rockets and drones on bases in Iraq and Syria, with 140 assaults since October 7 amid Hamas’ mass killing inside Israel and Israeli mass killings inside Gaza.
However, Saturday attack’s is only the second time that ballistic missiles have been used.
The US has responded occasionally with strikes on militia positions.
UPDATE 1818 GMT:
A fifth Revolutionary Guards member has died in today’s Israeli attack on the intelligence center of the Guards’ Quds Force in southern Damascus.
The Guards said Amin Samadi passed away from injuries suffered in the missile strike on the three-story building in the Mezzeh district, close to Bashar al-Assad’s Presidential Palace.
— Iran Nuances (@IranNuances) January 20, 2024
President Ebrahim Raisi declared that the strike “will not go unanswered”.
UPDATE 1300 GMT:
Iranian outlets are confirming that the head of intelligence for the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards branch for operations outside the Islamic Republic, was killed in today’s Israeli missile strikes on southern Damascus.
Reports identified the intelligence chief as Gen. Sadegh Omidzadeh. His deputy was among the four Iranians slain.
Iranian state media are sharing photos of Hojjatollah Omidvar or Hajj Sadegh, the senior IRGC general who was killed in an airstrike blamed on Israel. https://t.co/6n62Pv9NEr pic.twitter.com/THSd28FnTg
— Iran International English (@IranIntl_En) January 20, 2024
ORIGINAL ENTRY: An Israeli missile strike has killed at least four members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards near Damascus, less than a month after the Israelis assassinated the top Iranian commander in Syria.
A missile caused extensive damage to a three-story building in the Mezzeh district of southern Damascus, the Iranian military’s main position in Syria. Iran’s English-language outlet, Press TV, showed video of the “extensive devastation”.
New footage shows the extensive devastation caused by an Israeli attack in the Western Mezzeh Villas suburb in Damascus pic.twitter.com/BueiMQbI2V
— Press TV (@PressTV) January 20, 2024
The Revolutionary Guards confirmed the fatalities, saying several Assad regime troops were also slain, in a statement:
Once more the criminal Zionist regime has moved to violate the city of Damascus, the Syrian capital.
During an airstrike by the fighter jets of the invading and occupying regime a number of Syrian forces and four military advisers of the Islamic Republic of Iran were martyred.
One of the victims is believed to be the head of the Intelligence Department of the Quds Force, the Revolutionary Guards’ branch for operations outside Iran.
Israel has carried out strikes against targets of the Assad regime, Iran, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah since the Syrian uprising against the regime in March 2011.
However, recent attacks have moved from hitting Iranian missiles and weapons for Hezbollah to the killing of military officers and troops.
On December 25, Israel assassinated Sayyed Razi Mousavi, the head of the Quds Force in Syria. Mousavi had worked in the country for more than 30 years and was the right-hand man of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the Quds Forces commander killed by a US drone strike near Baghdad International Airport in January 2020.
Stung by Mousavi’s assassination and by an Islamic State attack on January 3 that killed at least 91 civilians in south-central Iran, the Revolutionary Guards carried out missile strikes inside Iraqi Kurdistan and Pakistan earlier this week.
The tactic backfired when Pakistan responded with strikes on Sistan and Baluchestan Province in southeast Iran.