Beirut | At least 31 people – soldiers and pro-regime fighters – have been killed in Israeli airstrikes targeting military positions in eastern Syria overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday, the deadliest attack in two years and half.
Since the start of the war in Syria in 2011, the Jewish state has carried out hundreds of strikes against the manpower of its sworn enemies, targeting government troops, Iranian allied forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.
In recent weeks, the bombing blamed on Israel has intensified in eastern Syria, where Iranian-sponsored militias of foreign fighters are deployed in Deir Ezzor province, which borders Iraq.
The latest night strikes killed at least seven Syrian army soldiers and 24 foreign fighters attached to pro-Iran militias, according to a new assessment provided to AFP by the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), which was unable to provide the nationalities of the latter.
The strikes targeted arms warehouses and military positions, particularly on the outskirts of the town of Deir Ezzor, and in the deserts of Boukamal and Mayadine, said OSDH director Rami Abdel Rahmane.
The area hosts troops from Hezbollah and the Fatimid Brigade, bringing together pro-Iranian Afghan fighters, according to OSDH.
The Israeli army did not immediately react to this information.
The raids carried out on the night of Tuesday to Wednesday are “the deadliest” since strikes in June 2018 in the same province of Deir Ezzor, according to Mr. Abdel Rahmane. At the time, 55 pro-regime fighters, Syrians and Iraqis, had been killed, he recalled.
The official Syrian agency Sana reported on nightly Israeli strikes without providing details.
“At 1:10 am (11:10 pm GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault on the town of Deir Ezzor and the region of Boukamal,” Sana said, citing a military source.
“The consequences of the assault are currently being verified,” the source added laconically.
Already throughout the day Tuesday, unidentified planes had carried out several rounds of raids in the Boukamal region, killing 12 fighters from pro-Iran militias, reported OSDH, which had not provided in the report. ‘immediate results for these strikes.
The Hebrew state keeps insisting that it will not allow neighboring Syria to become the foothold of Iranian forces.
In 2020, Israel struck about 50 targets in Syria, according to an annual report published by the Israeli army.
These raids represent a “clear policy” of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in November.
Previous deadly strikes took place less than a week ago, targeting positions in southern Syria and south of the capital Damascus on January 7.
And last November, at least 19 pro-Iran fighters were killed by raids in the vicinity of Boukamal.