Syria: Israeli strikes on Damascus kill Iranian military officer

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Israeli missile strikes near Damascus early Friday killed an officer from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Iranian media.

At least three huge explosions were heard in the Syrian capital on Thursday night, according to eyewitness reports.

Syria’s state news agency, Sana, said Israel had launched an “aerial attack” on the Damascus countryside.

Citing a military source, it reported that Syrian air defense systems had intercepted and shot down several missiles targeting a weapons depot held by Syrian government forces and Iranian-backed groups.

The IRGC’s public relations department said in a statement that its officer Milad Heidari was working as a military adviser in Syria.

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The statement also condemned continued international silence regarding Israeli strikes on Syria and promised that the IRGC would respond to the killing of one of its own.

The latest attack is the second in two days. On Thursday, several missiles targeting the Syrian capital were reportedly launched from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, in an attack that injured two soldiers.

Earlier this month the Israeli military attacked Aleppo’s international airport twice.

Aleppo airport has often been used for aid deliveries to earthquake-hit areas in northern Syria. The earthquakes that hit Turkey on February 6 left more than 50,000 dead, including around 6,000 in Syria, sparking a humanitarian crisis.

The Israeli military has not commented following the latest attacks, a position it usually maintains after previous attacks on Syria.

In recent years the influence of pro-Iranian militias in Syria’s northern Aleppo Province has increased.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria since 2011, targeting government troops, Iran-backed fighters and Hezbollah. However, attacks targeting airports and paralyzing aviation have become more frequent in recent months.

At the beginning of this year, the Israeli military attacked the international airport of Damascus, temporarily putting it out of service and killing two Syrian soldiers.

Last month, at least five people were killed when suspected Israeli airstrikes hit residential neighborhoods and other locations in Damascus.

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