Iranian troops killed in reported Israeli strike on Syrian arms factory

An Israeli airstrike on a military position in central Syria early Saturday wounded at least six soldiers and destroyed several buildings, according to Syria’s state news agency SANA.

By Associated Press

SANA quoted an unnamed military official as saying the airstrike near the town of Masyaf, in Hama province, hit a military facility. It said Israeli warplanes fired missiles toward Syria from Lebanon’s airspace and claimed that Syrian air defenses shot down some of the missiles.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Israeli airstrikes hit three targets, wounding 17 Syrian soldiers. It said there were also deaths, but it was not immediately clear how many were killed and how many were Iranians or Iran-sponsored fighters.

It said the strikes targeted the military facility as well as a missile development center in a village near Masyaf and a nearby military base run by Iran-backed fighters.

The Israeli military declined to comment. Israel does not usually comment on reports concerning its airstrikes in neighboring Syria, though it has recently acknowledged striking Iranian targets there. The last such strikes that Israel announced were in late March.

Iran is a close ally of the brutal Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and has sent thousands of fighters from across the region to help his forces in the eight-year bloody civil war that has torn the nation asunder.

Iran routinely threatens to destroy Israel, which has vowed not to tolerate an Iranian military presence on its borders.

The most serious wave of airstrikes on Syria this year occurred in January, when the Israeli military hit several Iranian targets, responding to an Iranian missile attack a day earlier. The Iranian launch followed a rare Israeli daylight air raid near the Damascus International Airport.