February 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israeli Airstrike Reportedly Targets Iranian Assets in Damascus

February 2, 2024 | Flash Brief

Israeli Airstrike Reportedly Targets Iranian Assets in Damascus

Latest Developments

An alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus on February 2 killed an advisor in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The strike comes one day after reports surfaced that the IRGC was evacuating officers from Syria due to the ongoing threat of targeted strikes against its personnel. Syria’s state media claimed that Israeli jets launched missiles “targeting a number of points south of Damascus” in the early hours of February 2. IRGC media outlets later said that IRGC member Saeed Alidadi was killed.

Expert Analysis

“Israel has consistently been the only actor in the Middle East and beyond that is willing to make Iran pay a price for its threatening behavior in the region. The gray zone campaign in Syria has been the most effective means to do this. Dozens of senior Iranian officials have returned to Iran in coffins as a result of this campaign. These surgical strikes are not likely to end soon so long as Iran continues to try to surround Israel with rockets in the hands of Iranian proxies. Israel will not let this pass without exacting a toll.” — Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“Iran is determined to arm Hezbollah with weapons that would inflict damage on Israel even more horrific than what Hamas inflicted on October 7. Syria is an indispensable part of the route for most Iranian weapons headed for Hezbollah, so Israel has regularly struck Iranian and Iranian proxy targets in Syria for over a decade. The threat would be much greater in the absence of these strikes, yet the threat is still great, and Iran is determined to keep sending weapons.” — David Adesnik, FDD Senior Fellow and Director of Research

Campaign Between Wars

For years, Israel has been striking Iranian assets in Syria as part of a shadow operation known as the “campaign between wars.” Israel rarely takes responsibility for individual strikes, although it acknowledges a sustained effort to prevent Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the transport of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

A series of strikes over the last two months has resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen IRGC personnel. On January 20, an airstrike on an IRGC building in Damascus killed five officers — including the IRGC’s Syria intelligence chief. On December 29, a strike on Damascus International Airport killed 11 IRGC members as they awaited the arrival of a senior delegation. Another strike in Damascus on December 25 killed Sayyed Razi Mousavi, a senior advisor in the IRGC and the official responsible for coordinating between Iran and Syria.

Iran Evacuates IRGC Officers From Syria,” FDD Flash Brief

Iranian Military Advisor Killed in Israeli Strike in Syria,” FDD Flash Brief

The Quiet War Between Israel and Iran,” by Jonathan Schanzer


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Syria