Airstrike hits pro-Iranian militias near Syria-Iraq border

Base on the Euphrates River struck; casualties not clear.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

A base used by Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria was hit by an air strike on Monday, according to military sources and residents cited by Reuters.

The strikes, carried out by unidentified aircraft, hit a base near Mayadeen, in the Syrian province of Deir al Zor along the Euphrates River. The location is near the Syrian-Iraq border. Information about casualties wasn’t available.

Residents told Reuters that several explosions were heard, prompting ambulances to race to Mayadeen’s outskirts. They also said that the pro-Iran militias were on a heightened state of alert and had stepped up their patrols.

In the past year, numerous air strikes widely attributed to Israel have hit pro-Iranian militias around Syria, including as far east Abu Kamal, which is along the Iraqi border. Israeli officials have confirmed the strikes in a general way, never confirming specific attacks.

Iran has been trying to create a land bridge to the Mediterranean via Iraq. This allows Tehran to more covertly move fighters and weapons right up to Israel’s borders and tighten its influence over both Lebanon and Syria. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s reliance on Iran coupled with the sidelining of Iraqi Kurds has facilitated Tehran’s efforts.

Syria’s state-controlled media, which doesn’t acknowledge the presence of Iran-backed militias on its soil, didn’t report the attack on Mayadeen.