Five members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) serving in an advisory capacity were killed Saturday in the Syrian capital of Damascus when Israeli warplanes struck a residential building they were staying in. Iran confirmed the deaths of the Guard members.
Syrian state media reported that the attack was carried out against the Mazzeh neighborhood by planes operating in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Israel has yet to comment on the incident. Some reports say ten people in total were killed in the attack.
Footage of Israeli strike in Mezzeh, heart of Syria’s capital Damascus today, killing IRGC Gen. Sadegh Omidzadeh,his deputy Haj Gholam and 3 others. Location, timing, tactic, all significant:— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) January 20, 2024
The slain reportedly included a Quds force general, and the Revolutionary Guard identified the slain, but did not include their ranks or duties within Syria. Notably, the Guard’s names did not include the Quds force general, though it also did not deny he was killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported five Iranians and an unidentified Syrian were amongst the slain.
Syrian state media identified the killed Iranians simply as advisers, and Iran followed up the incident with a statement condemning Israel for “organized terrorism,” and threatened retaliation at a time and place of their choosing.
A witness reported hearing at least five separate explosions during the attack, and saw bodies being taken away, including three surviving wounded. The media reports said the building was heavily guarded at the time.
Iran has had advisory forces in Syria since 2011, and played a big role in trying to help them organize the fight during the protracted civil war. Israel presented this as a threat along their border, and has regularly attacked Iranian targets within Syria when it has identified them.
Without knowing more about the victims, it is impossible to know how much of an impact this will have on the Iranian mission within Syria, though if history is any indicator, it will not mean any kind of ending to it.
With Israel escalating fighting in several border regions already and tensions soaring, Syria will no doubt hope for advice to continue apace.