update deskMiddle East

IRGC pulls officers from Syria after Israeli-attributed airstrikes

The Corps will manage its Syria operations remotely, helped by Hezbollah.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with a billboard of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the background. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps with a billboard of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the background. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Tehran has removed senior officers of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from Syria following a series of deadly aerial attacks attributed to Israel, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing five sources familiar with the matter.

Instead, the IRGC will manage its Syria operations remotely along with the assistance of its Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah, three sources said. One source, described by the news agency as “a senior regional security official briefed by Tehran,” said that senior Iranian commanders and dozens of mid-ranking officers left Syria in a “downsizing of the presence.”

Another source said that “the Iranians won’t abandon Syria but they reduced their presence and movements to the greatest extent.”

However, the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel denied the Reuters report, quoting “reliable sources” saying that Iranian “advisers” have been asked to stay in Syria, but without their families.

The regime in Tehran has blamed Jerusalem for recent airstrikes that included a missile attack in December south of Damascus that killed Maj. Gen. Razi Mousavi. He was responsible for coordinating the “military” alliance between Iran and Syria and was reportedly involved in Tehran’s efforts to supply its terrorist proxies in the region with weapons, including Hezbollah.

Mousavi was a longtime confidante of Lt. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the Quds Force commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq in 2020.

This was followed by another missile strike on a residential building in Damascus in January that killed five IRGC officers. A senior Quds Force intelligence officer in Syria, Brig. Gen. Haj Sadiq (Yusuf Omidzadeh), was killed in the attack, according to reports, along with his adviser and three others.

Israel did not confirm the attacks. Jerusalem rarely takes responsibility for attacks on terrorist elements in Syria.

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