Three Iranians were killed in air strike on Syrian air base

Syria Reuters

Four Iranian military personnel were killed in an air strike on a Syrian air base on Sunday, Iran's Fars news agency said, as Syria and its main allies Iran and Russian Federation blamed Israel for carrying out the attack. Media outlets associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps named the four dead, which included a senior officer in Iran's unmanned aerial vehicle program. The IRGC ordered Iranian state-affiliated media outlets to retract articles describing the incident.

A Tuesday report from Israel's Hadashot TV news, quoting what it said were numerous foreign reports, stressed that the target of the attack was not a missile shipment but, rather, some type of "advanced system" that could have complicated or undermined Israeli air superiority in the skies of Lebanon and Syria.

Now, bypassing its proxies, Iran directly challenges Israel through its UAV program.

"We will stand by Syria's government against any foreign aggression", Velayati said, adding that Tehran backs Damascus in its fight against the U.S. and Israel.

That escalation marks the first direct confrontation between Israeli and Iranian forces.

Читайте также: Israel bans entry of auto tires into Gaza after massive tire-burning

Israel has yet to deny or confirm responsibility for the attack.

Israel, which has struck Syrian army locations many times in the course of its neighbour's seven-year-old civil war, has not confirmed nor denied mounting the raid. Velayati, who serves as a top adviser to Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made the threats on Tuesday speaking to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA).

Iran already oversees a military compound near the Damascus airport and other high-profile airbases and permanent military sites across the country.

Velayati also said that there had been no chemical attack in the southern Syrian city of Douma over the weekend, as Western countries claimed. The timing of Israel's airstrike suggests that Israel is holding the Assad regime accountable for such a gruesome attack.

He added that Iran would strongly defend Syria's territorial integrity and national sovereignty.

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