Two pro-Iran fighters killed in Israeli Syria strikes: Monitor

AFP , Friday 17 Nov 2023

Israeli air strikes 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.

Hezbollah group
File photo: The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights group said the strikes targeted sites belonging to the powerful Lebanese Hezbollah group. AFP


Israel has hit targets in Syria several times in the past weeks as regional tensions rise over the Israeli war on Gaza.

Citing a military source, Syria's state news agency SANA earlier reported "material damage" from the strikes.

"At around 2:25 am (2325 GMT Thursday), 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 defence 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 group fighting alongside Syria's regime, the Observatory said, adding the bombardment occurred along the road to Damascus airport.

The Observatory said that "sites linked to Hezbollah and pro-Iran militias" near the airport were also targeted.

Syria's foreign ministry in a statement warned Israel "against going to far with its attacks on Syrian territory".

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 air strikes killed three pro-Iran fighters as they hit sites belonging to Hezbollah near Damascus, the Observatory reported at the time.

Since the Israeli war on Gaza began on October 7 Hamas ally Hezbollah and allied Palestinian factions have exchanged fire with Israeli forces across Lebanon's southern border.

During more than a decade of war in Syria, Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes 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.

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