BEIRUT: Israel will face retaliation if the United States launches a military strike against Syria, a senior Iranian military official warned, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency reported Saturday.

“Israel will be hit by retaliatory attacks if the United States launches an offensive on Syria since it [the Jewish state] is the first instigator in attacking [Syria],” Iranian Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said.

Iran staunchly backs the regime in Damascus and is Hezbollah’s leading supporter in the region.

Firouzabadi accused Israel of spearheading efforts to drag Washington into a war with the government in Damascus.

The U.S. has stepped up its war rhetoric against Damascus after accusing President Bashar Assad’s regime of using chemical weapons earlier this month against opposition strongholds outside Damascus.

The Syrian government has strongly denied the accusations but vowed to counter any act of aggression against the country.

The Iranian military’s top brass also accused Washington of siding with Al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, warning of consequences in case of a U.S. strike against the war-torn country.

“The U.S., which has invaded countries in the region under the big lie of battling Al-Qaeda following the September 11 [2001 attacks], is now fighting in favor of Al-Qaeda in Syria,” the Iranian general said.

Firouzabadi also warned the U.S. war rhetoric could bring about massive problems for other powers.

“Regional countries backing this cruel war will suffer serious losses,” he said.