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Syria: Airstrike hits Iran embassy building in Damascus

April 1, 2024

The Syrian and Iranian governments blamed Israel for the attack. Two Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps generals were killed in the strike.

Smoke rises after Iran reports that its diplomatic building was attacked in Damascus
The Iranian Embassy and its surroundings are located in the high-end Mezzeh neighborhood of the Syrian capitalImage: Firas Makdesi/REUTERS

Syria and Iran said Monday that a building adjacent to the Iranian Embassy in Damascus was hit by an Israeli airstrike that killed a top commander in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

"At least five people were killed in the attack which was carried out by F-35 fighter jets," Hossein Akbari, Iran's ambassador to Damascus, said in an interview broadcast on state TV. 

The IRGC said two generals and five officers were killed in the attack. 

Emergency responders were still searching for bodies under the rubble.

Iran vows 'harsh' response

Iranian and Syrian officials strongly condemned the strike on Iran's embassy in Damascus.

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, in comments carried by the official SANA news agency, strongly condemned "this heinous terrorist attack" on the building which killed a "number of innocent people."

Mekdad said the attack would not impact relations between Iran and Syria. Akbari said that Tehran's response to the attack would be "harsh."

According to Iran's Mehr news agency, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian spoke to Mekdad following the alleged Israeli attack and told him that Tehran considered it "a violation of international obligations and conventions."

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said Iran will choose "the type of response and punishment against the aggressor."

What do we know so far? 

Syria's Defense Ministry said, "The attack destroyed the entire building, killing and injuring everyone inside, and work is underway to recover the bodies and rescue the wounded from under the rubble."

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that eight people were killed in the strike. The Syria monitor group relies on Syrian sources on the ground.   

Iranian media reported that a senior commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), Mohammed Reha Zahedi, was killed in the attack. Zahedi belongs to the Quds Force of the IRGC, which specializes in unconventional warfare abroad and was once helmed by assassinated Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. 

Iran emerges as key player in Middle East turmoil

Israel has not issued a statement on the incident beyond saying it does not comment on reports in foreign media. 

Israel frequently conducts airstrikes on what it calls Iranian-affiliated targets in Syria. The Syrian government, along with its allies Iran and Russia, have often accused Israel of violating international law with the strikes. 

wd, sdi/sms (Reuters, AFP)