on Friday 17 November, 2023

Israeli airstrikes kill two pro-Iranian fighters near Syria’s Damascus: Monitor

(File photo: AP)
by : AFP

Israeli airstrikes killed two pro-Iranian fighters near the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday during raids targeting a Hezbollah arms depot and other sites near Syria’s capital, a war monitor said.

Israel has hit targets in Syria several times in the past weeks as regional tensions rise over the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.

Citing a military source, Syria’s state news agency SANA earlier reported “material damage” from the strikes.

“At around 2:25 a.m. (1125 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights targeting several positions in the vicinity of Damascus,” SANA said.

The military source did not provide details on the targets but added that Syria’s air defense intercepted some of the Israeli missiles.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of sources in Syria, said “two foreign fighters” from pro-Iran groups were killed.

Several others were wounded, it added.

The strikes “destroyed an arms depot belonging to Hezbollah,” the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group fighting alongside Syria’s regime, the Observatory said, adding the bombardment occurred along the road to Damascus airport.

The Observatory added that “sites linked to Hezbollah and pro-Iran militias” near the airport were also targeted.

Israeli strikes last month put Syria’s two main airports in Damascus and Aleppo out of service several times over two weeks, and the Damascus terminal remains out of operation.

On November 8, Israeli airstrikes killed three pro-Iran fighters as they hit sites belonging to Hezbollah near Damascus, the Observatory reported at the time.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7, when the Iran-backed Hamas fighters stormed out of the Gaza Strip, Hamas ally Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions have exchanged fire with Israeli forces across Lebanon’s southern border.

During the decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes on its territory, primarily targeting Iran-backed forces and Hezbollah fighters as well as Syrian army positions.

While Israel rarely comments on the strikes it carries out in Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran to extend its footprint there.

The Syrian war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, escalating into a conflict involving foreign powers and global jihadist groups.

More than half a million people have been killed, and around half of Syria’ilas pre-war population forced from their homes.