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Syria: what we know about the Israeli strikes which left at least eleven dead at the Iranian embassy

2024-04-02 00:47:28

Unprecedented strikes targeted the Iranian consulate in Damascus on Monday, state media reported. An NGO reported eleven deaths in an extremely tense regional context, against a backdrop of war in Gaza. This is the fifth raid in eight days to target Syria, where Iran and its allies support the power of Bashar al-Assad.

What happened ?

“The Israeli enemy launched airstrikes from the occupied Syrian Golan, targeting the Iranian embassy annex in Damascus,” the Syrian Defense Ministry said on Monday, reporting several deaths and injuries. The “building was attacked by F-35 fighter jets and six missiles,” said the Iranian ambassador to Syria.

According to the Syrian Ministry of Defense, these strikes “completely destroyed the building”, located in Mazzeh according to the official Syrian press agency Sana, a district which houses embassies and United Nations buildings. “All those inside were killed or injured,” the ministry continued.

An AFP correspondent on site confirmed that the embassy annex building had been completely destroyed by the strike. Photos showed the building completely destroyed, reduced to a state of ruin. Not far from the scene, dozens of men gathered in front of the scene. An ambulance is on site.

Who are the victims ?

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), an NGO based in the United Kingdom which has a vast network of sources in the country, reported eleven deaths in this raid, according to a report updated at the end evening Monday “The death toll from Israeli strikes against the Iranian embassy annex stands at eleven dead: eight Iranians, two Syrians and one Lebanese, all fighters, no civilians,” declared Rami Abdel Rahman, director of long.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for its part announced that seven of its members, including two commanders, had been killed in the raid. In a statement, the Revolutionary Guards confirmed that two senior officers of the Quds Force, Mohammad Reza Zahedi and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi, were among the victims. The Quds Force is, within the Revolutionary Guards, responsible for operations outside Iran.

The Iranian Nour news agency, however, clarified that “Hossein Akbari, ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Damascus, as well as his family, were not injured during the Israeli attack.”

How did Iran and its allies react?

Iran will provide “a decisive response” to this attack, declared the ambassador to Syria. The raid “shows the reality of the Zionist entity which does not recognize any international law and does everything inhumane to achieve its objectives,” Hossein Akbari also commented.

The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, for his part, called on “the international community” to provide “a serious response” to the Israeli strikes. During a call with his Syrian counterpart, the head of Iranian diplomacy, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, considered this attack “as a violation of all international obligations and conventions, attributed the consequences of this action to the Zionist regime and stressed the need for a serious response from the international community to such criminal actions,” according to a ministry statement.

Iran’s ally, Lebanese Hezbollah, said Monday evening that the Israeli raid will be “punished.”

Russian diplomacy also condemned the “unacceptable” attack on the consular section of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, accusing the Israeli army of being responsible. “We call on Israeli leaders to stop provocative acts of armed violence against the territory of Syria and neighboring countries,” the ministry concluded, warning of “extremely dangerous consequences” for the region.

Is this the first Israeli attack in Syria?

Israel has already carried out hundreds of strikes in neighboring Syria against Syrian power positions, pro-Iranian groups, such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and Iranian military targets since the start of the war in that country in 2011.

The strikes have intensified since the start on October 7 of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, an ally of Hezbollah and Iran, enemies of Israel. Israel rarely comments on its strikes in Syria but says it would not allow Iran, its sworn enemy, to gain a foothold on its border.

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