Iranian Revolutionary Guards wounded in plane takedown in Damascus - reports
Alaa al-Basha, a spokesman for the opposition Syrian Military Council, said Friday a number of commanders belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards were wounded in Thursday’s incident when the Free Syrian Army (FSA) destroyed a plane allegedly carrying arms from the Islamic republic.
The FSA hit the plane as it was landing in Damascus International Airport, the SANA Revolution Network reported on Thursday, adding that the Syrian regime had diverted all flights going to the Damascus airport to another in the Soueida area – around 15 kilometers away.
The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency denied the report, saying everything was “normal” at the airport.
“The media reports on the airport carried out by media outlets that are accomplices in Syrian bloodshed are not true,” SANA said.
However, a video posted by activists on YouTube showed a plane catching fire as it tried to land at the airport.
According to various reports – which Al Arabiya cannot confirm – Iran transfers nearly five tons of arms shipment every week. The weapons are reportedly hidden in a special compartment in the aircraft’s cargo.
Iran has remained a steadfast ally of the Syrian regime, with much of its military aid being delivered by plane, usually over Iraq with its government’s compliance.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq last week, and pressed the government to stop allowing such flights, describing them as “problematic” and “helping to sustain” the Syrian regime.
For months, Washington has accused Baghdad of turning a blind eye to such flights, and has called on authorities to make random, unannounced inspections.