19 pro-Iran fighters killed in Israeli strikes on Syria: Monitor

AFP , Saturday 30 Dec 2023

Air strikes in eastern Syria "likely" launched by Israel on Saturday killed at least 19 pro-Iran fighters, a war monitor said, updating an earlier toll.

Israeli planes
The Syrian war monitor that released the numbers said the raids were likely carried out by Israel , after earlier indicating they were likely American . Reuters Israeli Air Force F-16 fighter jets take part in a ceremony for newly graduated air force pilots at Hatzerim Air Base, June 28, 2010.


The Middle East has seen a surge in attacks on US forces, which Washington blames on Tehran-aligned armed groups across the region, since the start of Israel's war on Gaza in early October

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "19 pro-Iranian fighters, including four Syrians, and six Iraqis, were killed and more than 18 were wounded" in at least nine air strikes overnight near the Iraqi border.

It said the raids were "likely carried out by Israel", after earlier indicating they were "likely American".

They targeted military positions in Albu Kamal and its surroundings, in Deir Ezzor province near the border with Iraq, added the Britain-based Observatory, which has a broad network of sources inside war-torn Syria.

It said a weapons shipment from Iraq and an ammunition warehouse were also hit.

Meanwhile, Lebanon's powerful Hezbollah movement announced on Saturday the death of four of its fighters "on the road to Jerusalem" -- a reference to fighters killed in hostilities since October 7.

It was unclear whether they had died in the strikes in the Albu Kamal area.

The latest violence came amid an increase in attacks against US and anti-jihadist coalition forces in Syria and Iraq since the start of Israel's Gaza war. There has also been regular cross-border fire between Israel and Hezbollah in south Lebanon.

The US launched air strikes in Iraq this week after a drone attack in the Kurdistan region wounded three US military personnel, one critically.

In mid-November, at least eight members of Tehran-linked groups were killed in US strikes that hit two sites in Deir Ezzor province, according to the Observatory.

Washington has counted more than 100 attacks launched against US targets in Syria and Iraq since mid-October, according to a military official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The majority have been claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a loose formation of Iran-linked armed groups which oppose US support for Israel.

The United States has around 2,500 troops in Iraq and 900 in Syria as part of a multinational coalition fighting the Islamic State group.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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