An Israeli airstrike on the Damascus airport has reportedly killed nearly a dozen senior Iranian military officials, which one expert told Fox News Digital would prove Israel’s ability to maintain a multi-faceted defense of the region.
“While there is no independent confirmation of Guard Corps names or ranks, the IRGC has long seen Syria as a critical regional hub to project power into the Eastern Mediterranean and connect its constellation of proxies called the ‘Axis of Resistance,’” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said.
“It should come as a shock to no one that Guard Corps elite are operating there, especially amid a regional war, which they are directing far away from their own soil,” he added.
“Similarly, should the strike be independently verified, it would be more proof of Israel being able to hold back and deter elements of the Axis of Resistance in other geographies while fighting to defeat Hamas in Gaza,” Taleblu stressed.
Syrian media claimed that Israel had targeted sites in southern Syria and near Damascus in waves that aimed to disrupt and Iran’s operations in the country.
A report from The Jerusalem Post claimed the strike killed 11 leaders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at the airport on Thursday night.
One of the IRGC commanders in Syria, Major General Gholam-Ali Rashid Ali-Nour, was also injured in the airstrike, Saudi media channel Al-Hadath reported. Earlier this week, the IRGC confirmed that one of its top commanders in Syria, Brig. Gen. Razi Mousavi, was killed in an Israeli “missile attack.”
According to the report, which has no confirmation, most of the officers who made up the senior command of the Revolutionary Guards and other pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria were killed in the attack.
11 members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were killed in recent Israeli strikes on Syria, sources told Al Arabiya on December 29.
The targeted IRGC members, responsible for overseeing Iran-backed forces in Syria’s eastern region, were present at Damascus International Airport to welcome a senior delegation when they were targeted, the sources told the Saudi-owned news channel.
Al Arabiya’s sister channel, Al Hadath reported that the commander of IRGC forces in the eastern region, Nur Rashid, was injured in the strikes.
Syrian state media reported two waves of Israeli strikes on the southern region late on December 28 and shortly after midnight.
A Syrian military intelligence source and another regional security official familiar with the matter told Reuters that the Israeli strikes targeted a Syrian air defense base and a radar station in the Tell al-Sahn area in the southeastern countryside of Suwayda.
Moreover, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based monitoring group, reported that the strikes also hit Damascus International Airport, which resumed operations a day earlier after more than two months of repairs from a previous Israeli attack.
The IRGC has not yet reported any losses from the recent Israeli strikes on Syria. Earlier this week, the guards mourned one of its top commanders in Syria, Brigade General Seyed Razi Mousavi, just a few hours after he was killed in southern Damascus in a strike attributed to Israel.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi issued a message the same day, December 25, warning that Israel “will certainly pay for this crime.”
Israel escalated its attacks on Syria significantly since the outbreak of the war with the Hamas Movement and other Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip.
If the information reported by Al Arabia is true, tensions between Israel and Iran will reach a whole new level. The IRGC will not likely tolerate repeated Israeli attacks on its forces in Syria. The guards will not only respond but will also attempt to establish deterrence.
Bill and Behnam are back for what has been dubbed by Behnam as the first and last Freaky Friday of 2023 to discuss news of an alleged Israeli assassination of an IRGC general, context of U.S.-launched strikes against the Hezbollah Brigades after the group targeted U.S. forces at an airbase in Erbil, the latest string of Houthi maritime attacks (remember Operation Prosperity Guardian… yeah…), and the painful irony of a million dollar missile shooting down a thousand-dollar drone, AKA Iran’s asymmetrical warfare strategy.