Zolfaqar missiles are displayed at a military parades in Iran on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. The slogan on the banner on the truck has been translated as ‘If the leaders of the Zionist regime make a mistake then the Islamic Republic will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to dust.’ (Photo: Tasnim news agency)
(CNSNews.com) â€“ An Iranian regime mouthpiece said Monday that an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile and drone strike purportedly targeting terrorists inside Syria was a warning to the United States, which has been told by the Assad regime to end its unwelcome military presence there.
The IRGC claims to have killed â€śdozensâ€ť of terrorists responsible for a deadly attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz in Khuzestan province a week earlier.
It says it launched six surface-to-surface ballistic missiles from Iranâ€™s Kermanshah province, which flew clear across Iraq and targeted terrorist locations in eastern Syria. Seven drones then dropped bombs on the targets, the IRGC says.
The attack in Ahvaz, which killed 26 people, was claimed both by an ethnic Arab separatist group fighting for an autonomous state in oil-rich Khuzestan, and by ISIS. IRGC officials say both groups were targeted in the missile and drone strike early on Monday.
Tehran had earlier accused the U.S., Israel and regional Arab states of supporting the anti-Iran terrorists.
The Fars news agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, reported Monday that at least one of the six missiles launched from Kermanshah was daubed with the slogans, â€śDeath to America,â€ť â€śDeath to Israel,â€ť â€śDeath to Al Saudâ€ť â€“ the ruling house of Saudi Arabia â€“ as well as a Qurâ€™anic verse (4:76) exhorting Muslims to â€śfight against the friends of Satan.â€ť
State media outlets quoted the chief of staff of Iranâ€™s armed forces, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri, as saying that the area of Syria targeted by the IRGC â€śis close to the area under American control.â€ť
He said the strikes were â€śa warning for the enemies, so they donâ€™t move toward creating insecurity in Iran.â€ť
IRGC Aerospace Force commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh also said the strikes were aimed at sending a message to those who support the terrorists.
â€śWe used both missiles and drones in these operations so that the enemies take a lesson and stop supporting the terrorist groups,â€ť he said. â€śThey should fear these conditions.â€ť
The Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is appointed by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, published an article attributed to a staff writer, saying the IRGC strike had â€ścaught by surprise the terrorists and their masters in the U.S. and in certain Persian Gulf states.â€ť
â€śThe fact that the Iranian surgical strike was in an area frequented by the illegal presence of the U.S. military forces in the [Deir al-Zour] Governorate, ought to be a warning against any mischievous move by the uninvited Americans, who have been served notice by the government of Syria to immediately leave,â€ť it said.
A photo released by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ public relations division purports to show ballistic missiles being launched from Iran’s Kermanshah province en route to terrorist locations in eastern Syria, early on Monday, October 1, 2018. (Photo: IRGC/Sepah)
At the U.N. General Assembly on Saturday, the Assad regimeâ€™s foreign minister vowed to purge Syrian territory of uninvited foreign military forces, citing the U.S., France and Turkey.
According to the Pentagon some 2,000 U.S. troops are in Syria, helping Syrian Democratic Forces allies mop up ISIS in the remaining territory held by the terrorists in the Middle Euphrates River Valley (MERV) and the Syria-Iraq border region, in what is dubbed â€śOperation Roundup.â€ť
A spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition, U.S. Army Colonel Sean Ryan, said in a brief statement that â€śIranian forces did conduct a no notice strike last night in the MERV and open sources state they were targeting militants blamed for the recent attacks on the Iranian military parade.â€ť
Ryan said coalition forces were still assessing the strike, but added that no coalition forces were in danger.
According to Fars and other Iranian outlets, the projectiles fired early Monday were Qiam and Zolfaqar missiles.
The Zolfaqar, which reportedly boasts a range of 465 miles, is the missile which the IRGC unveiled at a 2016 military parade, transported on a truck draped with a banner threatening to turn the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Haifa â€śto dust.â€ť
The Qiam missile, with a reported range of 500 miles, is the Iranian weapon which the Trump administration says have been fired by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen at targets in Saudi Arabia â€“ including an international airport â€“ but shot down by the Saudi military.
Fars also claimed that the drones used by the IRGC in Mondayâ€™s attack were bombing-capable models developed by the Iranians after reverse-engineering a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel stealth spy drone, which crashed in Iran in late 2011.