Airstrike on Iranians in Syria blamed on Israel, 8 killed

Syrian news agency says “limited” losses in airstrikes near Damascus, but Syrian rights group says at least eight pro-Iranian militiamen killed.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

At least eight members of a pro-Iranian militia were killed in airstrikes attributed to the Israel Air Force, a leading Syrian rights group said Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syrian opposition organization based in Britain, said those killed belonged to “pro-Iranian militias and Lebanese Hezbollah” and the dead were “non-Syrian nationalities.” Iranian military advisers and Iranian-armed militias have been in Syria for several years propping up the government of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, with Iran and Hezbollah attempting to entrench themselves near the border with Israel.

A Syrian military source told the state-run SANA news agency that “the losses were limited to material.”

“Violent explosions were heard after mid-Tuesday-Wednesday in areas south of the capital Damascus and the Quneitra governorate, resulting from Israeli air strikes targeting military sites of the regime forces in which pro-Iranian militias are present,” the SOHR said on its website. The Quneitra governorate borders Israel on the Golan Heights where Iran and its proxy, the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, have been trying to establish a military presence.

“The Israeli airstrikes have targeted weapon and missile depots used by Iranians and Hezbollah in the Jabal al-Mani area in southern Damascus countryside,” the rights group said. “A military post belonging to the Syrian Resistance for the Liberation of the Golan militia was also targeted near the village of Ruweihina at the Syrian border” with Israel.

According to the group, the overnight strike was the 36th attack by Israel on Syrian territory since the beginning of 2020. The SOHR claims that in those strikes, 206 militants were killed, but only 41 were Syrian nationals; the remaining 165 were foreign nationals belonging to Iranian forces, Hezbollah and affiliated militias.

Last week, the Israel Air Force attacked multiple targets in Syria in response to the discovery of bombs planted on the Israel-Syria border by an Iran-backed military squad.

In that attack, the SOHR reported that three Syrian soldiers and five Iranians, who apparently belong to a Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, were killed. Two other dead militiamen were thought to be Lebanese or Iraqi.

Also on Wednesday, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations called on the UN Security Council to “take immediate action against the Iranian presence in Syria” in the wake of attacks on Israel’s northern border by armed groups affiliated with the Islamic Republic.