Iran launches missile attack on 'terrorists' in Syrian city

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — After firing missiles targeting the Islamic State group in eastern Syria, Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Monday issued a stark warning to IS militants, saying that any future attack against Iran will result in more powerful launches.

The downing of the warplane - the first time in the six-year conflict that the USA has shot down a Syrian jet - came amid another first: Iran fired several ballistic missiles Sunday night at IS positions in eastern Syria in what it said was a message to archrival Saudi Arabia and the United States.

Late Sunday, the elite Revolutionary Guards launched six missiles from western Iran into Syria's mostly Islamic State group-held Deir Ezzor province, hitting an IS command base, the Guards said.

The biggest part of this story is not the tactical outcome Iran was seeking by launching these weapons at a terrorist base or bases, but by the wider implications of Iran actually using their ballistic missiles operationally.

Tehran was rocked by two deadly attacks on June 7 targeting Iran's Parliament building and a shrine dedicated to the republic's revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini.

The parallel offensives points to an escalation between forces which back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, such as Iran, and the us which supports rebel groups.

Iran has described the Tehran attackers as being "long affiliated with the Wahhabi", an ultraconservative form of Sunni Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. Said Sharif. "Obviously and clearly, some reactionary countries of the region, especially Saudi Arabia, had announced that they are trying to bring insecurity into Iran". Both are on the opposite sides of violent conflicts in Syria, Yemen and most recently Iran has come to the support of Qatar.

Iran's ballistic missile capabilities - a threat not addressed during the nuclear deal negotiations - are prompting grave concerns in the West.

Analyst Foad Izadi said the strike was meant to convey several messages.

A video circulated online, which was also carried by Iranian semi-official and state news agencies, appeared to the show the moments the missiles were fired.

Daraa is where Syria's crisis first broke out in March 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar Assad's government.

Sunday's missile strike came amid recent confrontations in Syria between USA -backed forces and pro-government factions.

They also said that Syria is a complex region in which the Assad regime, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Israel and the USA, with its allies, have carried out air or missile strikes to achieve different and competing objectives. When Iran unveiled the Zolfaghar in 2016, it bore a banner printed with a 2013 anti-Israeli quote by Khamenei saying that Iran will annihilate the cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa should Israel attack Iran.

Large number of terrorists have been killed in the attacks, the statement said.

"The missiles were launched in coordination with Syria", the IRGC official said.

He pointed out that it was the first time that Iranian missile power showed itself to the world on the ground, and stressed that the enemies of the Islamic Republic should know that "in the event of an invasion or violation of worldwide law, they will be confronted with an overwhelming response".

  • Leroy Wright