‘Tehran Will Surely Respond’ – Israel Escalates by ‘Flattening’ Iranian Consulate in Damascus

Brigadier General Mohammed Reza Zahedi, a senior commander of the IRGC's Quds Force in Syria and Lebanon, was assassinated in Damascus. (Photo: via social media)

Once again Israel attacked Iranian targets in Syria, in an effort, according to experts, aimed at expanding its war beyond Gaza. 

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was killed in the Israeli airstrike on Damascus on Monday, Iranian sources said.

The latest attack destroyed a building adjacent to the Iranian embassy in Damascus, killing at least seven people, according to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA). 

Iranian media identified the building as the Iranian consulate and the ambassador’s residence. 

For its part, Iran’s Tasnim News Agency identified Zahedi, a senior commander in the IRGC’s Quds Force, as being among the dead. 

His deputy was reportedly killed as well.

According to a Reuters correspondent in Damascus, the consulate was “flattened,” in what was described as “a startling apparent escalation of conflict in the Middle East that would pit Israel against Iran and its allies.”

The attack on the consulate is “a breach of all international conventions,” Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in a call to his Syrian counterpart, according to Iranian media. He added that Tehran will hold Israel responsible. 

Iran’s ambassador to Syria said the response will be “harsh,” according to Reuters.

The Quds Force is the IRGC’s military intelligence and unconventional operations arm. Zahedi was reportedly in charge of its operations in Syria and Lebanon. Its most famous commander, General Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated in January 2020 by a US drone, while visiting Baghdad, Iraq. 

Another Quds Force commander, General Razi Mousavi, was killed in Damascus last December, also by an Israeli airstrike. 

“Israel is desperate,” Dr. Ramzy Baroud, a political analyst and the Editor of the Palestine Chronicle said. “It is sinking deeper in Gaza, in a war that turned into a genocide against a civlian population, but failed to achieve any military or strategic goals”. 

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Baroud added that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is “feeling increasingly trapped. He is still hoping to expand the war so that it would eventually rope in the Biden Administration.” 

“Though a regional war would be destructive, it could, per Netanyahu’s calculations, lessen the burden placed on him in fighting an unwinnable war in Gaza,” he added. 

“Iran will surely respond, but the response is unlikely to come directly from Tehran, though it will be felt in Tel Aviv.” 

(PC, RT)

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