Iran warns missile attack on IS in Syria can be repeated

Jun 22, 2017, 01:45
Iran warns missile attack on IS in Syria can be repeated

The launch, which hit Syria's eastern city of Deir el-Zour on Sunday night, appeared to be Iran's first missile attack overseas in over 15 years and its first in the Syrian conflict amid its support of embattled President Bashar Assad.

The U.S. has also fired on Syrian government ground forces in the east on two occasions in just the last month. The Russians, who have been providing air cover for Assad's forces since 2015, appear to want to avoid further US targeting of Syrian warplanes or ground troops that have come under USA attack in eastern Syria recently.

The Guards fired six missiles from the west of Iran across the border and into Syria's mostly IS-held Deir Ezzor province, targeting an IS command base, they said earlier. In April, Russia briefly suspended cooperation after the USA military fired 59 missiles at a Syrian air base following a chemical weapons attack that Washington blamed on the Assad government.

Speaking in Washington, the top USA military officer said the two sides discussed the matter as recently as Monday morning but that further talks are needed.

"I think we're getting closer and closer to open conflict with Iran and Russian Federation, and the American public needs to know that we're moving very fast toward what could be another war inside the Middle East", Murphy told anchor Alisyn Camerota on CNN's "New Day", "something by the way that Donald Trump promised he wouldn't do when he ran for office".

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.

It appeared to be Iran's first missile attack overseas in over 15 years and its first in the Syrian conflict, in which it has provided crucial support to Assad. Iranian leaders have accused Saudi Arabia of involvement in the twin attacks, which Riyadh denies.

"If [IS militants] carry out a specific action to violate our security, definitely there will be more launches, with intensified strength", Sharif said.

The attack also came as emboldened Sunni Arab states - backed by U.S. President Donald Trump - are hardening their stance against Iran.

The missile attack came amid recent confrontations in Syria between US -backed forces and Iranian-backed pro-government factions.

"Iran's missile capability protects its citizens in lawful self-defence and advances common global fight to eradicate ISIS and extremist terror", Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet, using another acronym for IS.

The remarks came amid questions whether the strike - Iran's first in the Syrian war - had been effective.

Clashes between Syrian troops and the SDF would escalate tensions and open a new front line in the many complex battlefields of the civil war, now in its seventh year.

The repeated incidents in the vicinity of the Tanf camp, where USA forces train and advise local ground forces in the fight against IS, add to soaring regional tensions that could spiral out of control just as the fight against the extremists enters a crucial phase, with US -backed forces pushing into the group's de facto capital, the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Fighting and bombardment meanwhile resumed early Tuesday between Syrian government forces and rebels in the southern city of Daraa and nearby areas, where a 48-hour truce had gone into effect on Saturday.

The push by Syrian government forces in the Daraa area appears headed for the Jordanian border, two weeks after Assad's troops reached the border with Iraq for the first time in years.

Vasilyeva reported from Moscow.

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