It's a huge development in an extremely volatile environment: overnight Sunday Iran launched multiple ballistic missiles toward Syria against targets east of the Euphrates river.
Footage released through official state channels show missiles launched by Iran from its Kermanshah region in western Iran towards Syria, targeting ISIS positions east of the Euphrates in revenge for the September 22 attack on a military parade in Ahvaz, which killed 25 and injured scores more.
However, the United States will no doubt interpret the action as highly provocative as the US Army maintains bases precisely in the broad region targeted east of the Euphrates in Syria.
In the early morning hours of Monday (local time) Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) published an official statement saying that its Aerospace Division targeted the "headquarters of the terrorists" east of the Euphrates in Syria.
A photo set showing a series of near simultaneous surface-to-surface launches was published alongside the statement.
Videos of the launch were uploaded and circulated widely in Middle East social media. Early unconfirmed reports and video suggest that a total of eight missiles were fired; however, at least two appear to have crashed shortly after launch.
Footage allegedly shows missiles launched by #Iran from its Kermanshah region towards #Syria, striking “ #IS positions”east of the Euphrates in revenge for the attack on a military parade in #Ahvaz that IS claimed it. #ISIS— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) October 1, 2018
"The headquarters of those responsible for the terrorist crime in Ahvaz was attacked a few minutes ago east of the Euphrates by several ballistic missiles fired by the aerospace branch of the Guardians of the Revolution," the IRGC said on their official Sepah website.
The launch comes soon after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the United States a “sponsor” of those that funded the terrorist attack on Avhaz in southwest Iran — one of the deadliest in Iran's recent history. The IRGC also vowed “a crushing and devastating response" during last Friday prayers in Tehran.
A second video of the launch has been released by the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) official channels:
Second video of #Iran’s launch of several surface to surface missiles from outside the Kurdish city of Kermanshan. This is yet another message to the world: Iran will attack any country it wants and the world cannot our anything about it. #Rojhelat #TwitterKurds #Kurdistan pic.twitter.com/rq8xGSa1Ff— PDKI (@PDKIenglish) October 1, 2018
Washington has denied any involvement in the Avhaz attack, which was immediately claimed by both a local Avhaz separatist group and official ISIS media channels.
But Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in the aftermath that “US masters” and regional terrorist forces should be held accountable for the bloodshed.
Iran's top cleric and supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei also pointed the finger at the West, condemning what he labelled "plots hatched by US stooges in the region."
Hours after the highly provocative launch into Syria, it is unclear whether any among the missiles impacted inside Syria, and Syrian state sources have yet to issue a report or confirmation of the strike.
Iran's official English language PressTV claimed the following, however, citing the IRGC:
According to the statement, the strike took place in early Monday by the IRGC’s Aerospace Division, killing and injuring a large number of Takfiri terrorists and ringleaders of the September 22 attack.
While there's yet to be any confirmation of these claims of casualties on the ground, video quickly surfaced purporting to show two of the locations where missiles crashed early after the launch.
Two of the Qiam-1 Ballistic missiles failed seconds after their launch and crashed at Sarab-e Yavari village near city of #Kermanshah, however they didn't kill any civilian & just destroyed two farms, but they proved that #IRGC's ballistic missiles are extremely unreliable. pic.twitter.com/ljP5Ddvu22— Babak Taghvaee (@BabakTaghvaee) October 1, 2018
UPDATE— Press TV (@PressTV) October 1, 2018
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (#IRGC) strikes the gatherings of the ringleaders of the recent terror attack in the southern Iranian city of #Ahvaz, in the east of the Euphrates with several surface-to-surface ballistic missiles. https://t.co/fK2IJCoAYC pic.twitter.com/P6C37VapO4
At least one Iranian state TV report suggested the missiles flew over central Iraq near the city of Tikrit and landed in the vicinity of Abu Kamal, in southeast Syria.
Iranian state news sources promoted images and graphics purporting to show the flight path throughout the morning in a clear signal to regional enemies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as well as the United States and Israel.