TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard said Sunday it launched missiles into eastern Syria targeting Islamic State militants in response to an attack on Iran’s parliament and a shrine in Tehran, warning that it would similarly retaliate on anyone else carrying out attacks in Iran.
The launch of surface-to-surface medium-range missiles into Syria’s Deir el-Zour province comes as Islamic State militants fleeing a U.S.-led coalition onslaught increasingly try to fortify their positions there.
Activists in Syria said they had no information on damage or casualties from the strikes, launched from Iran’s Kurdistan and Kermanshah provinces.
Social media was awash in shaky mobile phone footage from those areas, allegedly showing the missiles rise in an orange glow before heading toward their targets.
Sunday’s assault marked a rare direct attack from the Islamic Republic amid its support for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a hard-line paramilitary force, has seen advisers and fighters killed in the conflict.
A Guard statement carried on its website said many “terrorists” were killed and their weapons had been destroyed in the strike.
The Guard warned Islamic State militants and their “regional and international supporters” that similar retaliatory attacks would target them as well if another assault in Iran occurs
Five Islamic State-linked attackers stormed Iran’s parliament and a shrine to revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini on June 7, killing at least 17 people and wounding more than 50.
Also Sunday, the U.S. military shot down a Syrian Air Force fighter jet that bombed local forces aligned with the Americans in the fight against Islamic State militants. The action appears to mark a new escalation of the conflict.
A Pentagon spokesman said the U.S. had not shot down a Syrian regime aircraft before Sunday’s confrontation.
The U.S. has long said that it would protect what it calls moderate Syrian opposition forces. This is the first time it resorted to engaging in air-to-air combat to make good on that promise.
The U.S.-led coalition headquarters in Iraq said a U.S. F-18 Super Hornet shot down a Syrian government SU-22 after it dropped bombs near the U.S. partner forces. The shootdown was near the Syrian town of Tabqa.