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Casualties from Israeli air raids in Syria: War monitor

Casualties from Israeli air raids in Syria: War monitor

More than 18 attacks by Israel on multiple targets near Syrian-Iraq border took place, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Israeli night raids targeting arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria have killed at least seven Syrian soldiers and 16 allied fighters, in the deadliest raids since 2018, a war monitor said Wednesday.

The Israeli air force carried out more than 18 attacks against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Az Zor to the al-Bukamal desert at the Syrian-Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The raids killed seven Syrian soldiers and 16 non-Syrian militia fighters whose nationalities were not immediately known, the Britain-based monitoring group said.

Paramilitaries belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and the Fatimid Brigade, which is made up of pro-Iranian Afghan fighters, operate in the region, the Observatory said.

The raids also wounded 28 troops and militiamen, some of them critically.

A senior US intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told The Associated Press that the raids were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States and targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used as a part of the pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.

The official said the warehouses also served as a pipeline for components that supports Iran’s nuclear program.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reported the attacks but without giving further details.

“At 1:10am [23:10 GMT], the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault on the town of Deir Ezzor and the Al Bukamal region,” SANA said, citing a military source.

“The results of the aggression are currently being verified,” it added.

Local news source DeirEzzor24 said a number of warehouses and sites belonging to pro-Iranian militias were hit in the area.

“They burnt Iranian positions in Deir Ezzor,” said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province who runs an activist collective that reports on news in the border area.

A warplane carries out a bombing run above Syria near the Israeli-Syrian border as it is seen from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on July 24, 2018 [File: Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Routine raids

The attacks were the second wave of Israeli raids in Syria in less than a week.

The last air raids on January 7 were aimed at positions in southern Syria and south of the capital Damascus, killing three pro-Iran fighters.

Israel routinely carries out raids in Syria, mostly against targets affiliated with Iran in what it says is a bid to prevent its arch-foe from securing a further foothold along its borders.

According to Israeli media, the area that came under fire has reportedly been struck by Israel on more than one occasion in recent years as it houses a number of bases used by Iranian-backed groups.

The area is also key to a land corridor for Tehran that links Iran across Iraq and Syria through Lebanon, which Iran uses to smuggle in weapons and rockets, mainly to the Hezbollah armed group.

Iran has members of its own military as well as fighters from a variety of nationalities fighting with militias it supports deployed across Syria.

Israel hit about 50 targets in Syria in 2020, according to an annual report released in late December by the Israeli military.

The Israeli army has carried out hundreds of air and missile raids on Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011, singling out Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces as well as government troops.

aljazeera

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