A strike hit a residential building in Damascus, capital of Syria, on Saturday (January 20), the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said. “An attack carried out by Israel targeted a residential building in the Mazzeh neighborhood,” the official news agency wrote. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), the attack left five people dead.

The Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s ideological army, announced in a statement the deaths of “four military advisers of the Islamic Republic” and “a number of Syrian forces” in “an air attack carried out by Israeli hunters. He did not specify the function of the victims; Iran’s Mehr Agency said he was the “guardian intelligence chief in Syria and his deputy, as well as two other members of this force.”

“An Israeli missile strike targeted a four-story building, killing five people (…) and destroying the entire building where pro-Iranian leaders were meeting,” declared the OSDH, a non-governmental organization (NGO) based in United Kingdom which has an extensive network of sources in Syria. The building in question was indeed destroyed, noted a journalist from Agence France-Presse.

“The neighborhood is known to be a secure neighborhood that houses leaders of the Revolutionary Guards and Palestinian leaders close to Iran,” writes the OSDH. Mazzeh is also home to the headquarters of the United Nations and embassies. A thick cloud of smoke was escaping from the targeted building, according to residents and images shared by pro-government media.

An Iranian commander already killed in Syria in December

Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes on neighboring Syrian territory, primarily targeting forces backed by Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah, allies of the Syrian regime and sworn enemies of the state. Israeli, as well as the Syrian army. Israel, which rarely claims its operations in Syria, has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to expand its presence there, including through militias or armed groups like Hezbollah.

In December, the Revolutionary Guards accused Israel of killing one of their commanders in a strike in Syria. Brigadier General Razi Moussavi was targeted by “three missiles” in the town of Sayyida Zeinab (southern suburbs of Damascus), according to Tehran. The IRGC presented Mr. Mousavi as “one of the most experienced advisors” to the Quds Force, the foreign operations branch of the ideological army. He was “the logistical manager of the ‘axis of resistance’” in Syria, according to them.

Iran, which does not recognize the existence of Israel, considers itself along with power in Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah, the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Iraqi groups and Yemeni Houthi rebels as part of an “axis of resistance” against Israel in the Middle East.