BEIRUT (AP) — Issuing Tehran's strongest warning to date, a top Iranian official said Saturday that any attack on would be deemed an attack on , a sign that it will do all it can to protect embattled .
, an aide to Iran's supreme leader , made his comments as conducted offensive air raids against rebels and discovered a trio of tunnels they were using to smuggle weapons in their fight to topple Assad.
The world has been grappling over how to deal with Syria ever since an uprising against Assad's regime erupted nearly two years ago. But so far, there has been no international intervention on the ground where more than 60,000 people have been killed, according to the U.N.
Iran is Syria's strongest ally in the Middle East, and has provided Assad's government with military and political backing for years. In September, the top commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, said the elite unit had high-level advisers in Syria. Iran also is believed to be sending weapons and money to Syria as it endures its worst crisis in decades.