On November 23, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced that a senior officer of its Aerospace Forces had been assassinated in the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
In a statement, the guards’ public relations department said that the late officer, Colonel Davood Jafari, was killed with a “roadside bomb” on November 22.
An official with an Iran-backed group confirmed to The Associated Press that Col. Jafari was struck by a roadside bomb near the Damascus International Airport, south of the capital. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the bomb was planted to release the pressure in the direction of the officer’s car.
Col. Jafari was working as an advisor of the IRGC Aerospace Force in Syria. A photo showing the officer with Iran’s Supreme leader Ali Khamenei surfaced online after the news of his assassination.
The IRGC said that Col. Jafari was targeted by “Zionist agents,” effectively holding Israel responsible for his assassination. The guards warned that Israel will answer for the “crime”.
Israel attacks Syria covertly and overtly on a regular basis. Nevertheless, it rarely targets Iranian service members fighting, or operating as military advisers in the war-torn country.
The assassination of Col. Jafari came amid increased tensions in a shadow war that has been playing out between Iran and Israel for several years. The IRGC will likely keep its promise and respond to the assassination in order to maintain deterrence against Israel. This could however lead to a major military escalation in Syria.