Israeli air strikes in Syria overnight killed at least eight fighters operating in pro-Iran militias, a war monitoring group said Wednesday as quoted by Arab News.
The strikes near the capital Damascus targeted an arms depot and a position held by Iranian forces and their Lebanese ally Hezbollah, but the nationalities of the dead fighters was not immediately known, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Syria’s SANA news agency said that the strikes, near the village of Rwihinah, south of Quneitra near the Israeli border, and near Jabal Mane near the town of Kiswah south of Damascus, caused “only material damage.” According to AFP, however, eight pro-Iranian fighters were killed in the strikes.
While there was no confirmation by either side of what was struck, according to military defectors who were quoted by Reuters, the target in Jabal Mane was a military base belonging to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.
Israel has struck targets in Kiswah several times over the years as part of its war-between-wars campaign against the continued entrenchment of Iran and their terror proxy Hezbollah in Syria, including in July.
Other reports said that the attacks on the Golan Heights targeted a weapons depot and observation post belonging to Hezbollah’s Southern Headquarters.
According to a report by the ALMA Research and Education Center, Hezbollah’s presence in southern Syria is much larger than previously revealed, with some 58 sites in the southern Syrian provinces of Quneitra and Daraa, where the terror group’s Southern Command and Golan Project have been deployed.
The aerial attacks hit a territory in a zone that extends from the southern countryside of Damascus to the Golan Heights, where the growing Iranian presence is viewed as a strategic threat by Israel.
Israel last week acknowledged attacking what it called a wide range of Syrian and Iranian targets in Syria after spotting a squad planting roadside bombs near one of its positions in the Golan Heights, which it took from Syria in the 1967 war and later annexed in a move that is not internationally recognised.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air and missile attacks on Syria since a civil war broke out in 2011, targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces as well as government troops. It rarely acknowledges individual raids but has done so when responding to what it describes as aggression inside Israeli territory.
Last week’s operation appeared to be sending a public message to Iran and Syria after discovering anti-personnel mines near its troops. There was no immediate Israeli comment on Wednesday.