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Iran to 'hold off response to Syria strike if truce agreed'

Iran to hold off retaliation to Israeli strike on Syria consulate if Gaza truce reached: report
3 min read
08 April, 2024
Iran may call off retaliating to the Israeli attack on its Syria consulate if a ceasefire in Gaza is reached.
The Israeli airstrikes levelled a building near Iran's consulate in Damascus and killed several top commanders in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [GETTY]

Iran will hold off from retaliating to the Israeli airstrike on its consulate in the Syrian capital if a ceasefire agreement is reached in Gaza, an Iranian media report said on Sunday.

"If America succeeds in containing the situation, it will be a great success for the Biden administration and we can build on that," wrote Jadeh Iran journalist Ali Hashem on Saturday, citing an anonymous Arab diplomatic source.

No further information was given, and it was not clear if this Arab source was from Oman where Iran's top diplomat was on Sunday as part of a regional tour.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian, along with Iran's National Security Council chief Ali Akbar Ahmadian, headed to Damascus on Monday in the wake of last week's airstrike on the Syrian capital.

Ceasefire talks

US, Egyptian, and Qatari negotiators are trying to mediate a temporary ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas which would see the exchange of Palestinian prisoners for Israeli captives, six months on since the beginning of Israel’s onslaught on the Gaza Strip.

Israel and the US have been on high alert for a possible retaliation by Iran since last week’s airstrikes on its consulate in Damascus that killed seven Revolutionary Guards commanders. Among them were two generals, including Quds Force commander Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

The attack was one of the deadliest for Iran since the US assassinated top commander Qassem Soleimani in 2020.

Iran has said it would respond "harshly" to the Damascus strike, and reportedly told the US to "step aside."

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei warned that Israel’s embassies were "no longer safe."

Israel has not publicly claimed responsibility for the Damascus attack. It rarely comments on operations outside of Israel but the bombing of the consulate, which was reduced to a pile of rubble, is seen as a major incident in a years-long shadow war between Tel Aviv and Tehran.

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Iran backs Hamas but denies involvement in the Palestinian group’s October 7 attack which sparked the current war on Gaza.

The war on Gaza has seen Iran-backed Shia factions in the region – Hezbollah, the Houthis, and militias in Iraq and Syria – intervene by targeting Israel or US interests across the Middle East in support of Gaza, where over 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in six months of indiscriminate Israeli attacks.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah has been engaged in fierce cross-border clashes with the Israeli army.