Israeli air strikes on Iranian embassy’s consular annex in Damascus claim lives of 11 individuals, including top revolutionary Guard commander

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2nd April 2024 – (Damascus)  Israeli air strikes reportedly targeted and destroyed the consular annex of the Iranian embassy in Damascus, according to Syrian and Iranian officials. The attack resulted in the death of several individuals, including a top commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi. The incident has raised concerns about further violence in the already volatile region, particularly in the aftermath of the Gaza war.

Israel has refrained from commenting on the reported attack, while Iranian officials have vowed a strong response. The destruction of the consular annex, coupled with the loss of high-ranking IRGC officers, has further strained relations between the two countries. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, reported that the attack claimed the lives of 11 individuals, including Guards members. Rami Abdel Rahman, the head of the Observatory, confirmed that the casualties were fighters and not civilians.

Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Zahedi, the commander of the Quds Force for Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon, was among the IRGC members killed in the strike. The Quds Force, an elite unit within the IRGC, is responsible for Iran’s extraterritorial military operations. The targeted building stood adjacent to the Iranian embassy, prominently featuring a portrait of Qassem Soleimani, the late Quds Force commander who was killed in a US drone strike in 2020.

Syria’s defense ministry confirmed the destruction of the building, stating that it resulted in the loss of lives and injuries. The aftermath of the attack saw emergency services rushing to search for victims under the rubble, while security personnel cordoned off the area for investigations. The strike on the Iranian embassy’s consular annex marked the fifth such attack in Syria within a week, exacerbating tensions between Israel and Iran, longstanding adversaries in the region.

Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Hossein Akbari, condemned the attack and promised a decisive response, criticizing Israel for disregarding international laws. The Iranian Foreign Minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, called for a serious response from the international community. Meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad denounced the attack as a heinous act of terrorism that claimed innocent lives.