Damascus, Jan 13: Israeli night raids targeting arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria have killed at least nine Syrian soldiers and 31 allied fighters, in the deadliest raids since 2018, a war monitor said Wednesday.
The Israeli air force carried out more than 18 attacks early Wednesday against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Az Zor to the al-Bukamal desert at the Syrian-Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At least 37 others were also wounded in the raids, according to the London-based monitor.
Paramilitaries belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and the Fatimid Brigade, which is made up of pro-Iranian Afghan fighters, operate in the region, the Observatory said.
A senior US intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told The Associated Press that the raids were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States and targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used as a part of the pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.
The US official, who requested anonymity to speak about sensitive national security matters, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the raid with Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, at a public meeting in popular Washington restaurant Café Milano on Monday.
The Israeli military did not immediately comment.
The Syrian state news agency SANA reported the attacks but without giving further details.
“At 1:10am [23:10 GMT], the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault on the town of Deir Ezzor and the Al Bukamal region,” SANA said, citing a military source.
“The results of the aggression are currently being verified,” it added.
Local news source DeirEzzor24 said a number of warehouses and sites belonging to pro-Iranian militias were hit in the area.
“They burnt Iranian positions in Deir Ezzor,” said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province who runs an activist collective that reports on news in the border area.