DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran's Revolutionary Guards chief said a U.S. military attack on Syria would lead to the "imminent destruction" of Israel and would prove a "second Vietnam" for America, according to an Iranian news agency.
Shi'ite Muslim Iran, an arch-enemy of Israel, is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against mainly Sunni Muslim rebels trying to oust him in a two-and-a-half-year-old revolt.
Iran has blamed the rebels for a suspected chemical weapons on August 21 that killed hundreds of civilians. Opposition activists blame Assad's forces, Washington has agreed and President Barack Obama made the case for a limited military strike against Syria in response to the chemical attack.
Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said in an interview late on Wednesday with the Tasnim news agency that a U.S. strike on Syria would not help Israel.
"An attack on Syria will mean the imminent destruction of Israel," Jafari said, according to Tasnim.
The interview was widely picked up by Iranian media on Thursday. Tasnim, which launched in 2012, says on its website that it is devoted to "defending the Islamic Revolution against negative media propaganda".
Jafari, as quoted by Tasnim, also warned the United States that it risked embroilment in a costly and protracted struggle if it intervened in Syria.
"Syria will turn into a more dangerous and deadly battlefield than the Vietnam War, and in fact, Syria will become the second Vietnam for the United States," he said.
Reporting By Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Mark Heinrich