According to Arab media, twelve members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGS) have been killed in an Israeli missile strike on a military base in Al-Kiswah near Syrian capital Damascus after midnight on Saturday.
”The Israeli enemy launched...several surface-to-surface missiles towards a military position,“ Syrian state television reported on Saturday, adding there had been ”material losses at the site, .
Lebanon’s Al-Mustaqbal TV, belonging to the Hariri family and the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya network reported that social media accounts belonging to IRGC have published the names of Iranian soldiers who have been killed in the Israeli strike.
However, Radio Farda's search did not turn up any social media message mentioning these casualties.
Syria’s state-run news agency SANA claimed that two of the missiles fired by Israel were intercepted by the Syrian air defense.
A Western intelligence source has recently told the BBC that Iran was establishing a permanent military base in the same area where the strike has taken place.
So far, Syria, Iran, and Israel have been silent about the attack or the number of casualties. However, hours after the strike, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a video clip that Israel would not tolerate an Iranian military presence in Syria.
“Let me reiterate Israel’s policy: We will not allow a regime hell-bent on the annihilation of the Jewish state to acquire nuclear weapons. We will not allow that regime to entrench itself militarily in Syria, as it seeks to do, for the express purpose of eradicating our state,” said Netanyahu.
In August, Netanyahu accused Iran of turning Syria into a “base of military entrenchment as part of its declared goal to eradicate Israel,” and said Iran was building sites to produce precision-guided missiles in Syria and Lebanon, with the aim of using them against Israel.
“This is something Israel cannot accept,” he said.
Since the outbreak of civil war in Syria, Iran has supported President Bashar al-Assad with money, weapons, and thousands of soldiers.