Israeli Warplanes Strike Eastern Syria

Elias Hubbard
January 14, 2021

The Syrian state news agency Sana reported Wednesday's raids but gave few details.

The strikes also come amid intensifying low-altitude Israeli warplane missions in Lebanese skies that have caused jitters among residents and prompted Lebanon to file an urgent complaint to the United Nations about the violations of its airspace.

The area targeted has reportedly been repeatedly struck by Israel in recent years as it houses a number of bases used by Iranian-backed groups and is key to a land corridor for Tehran that links Iran across Iraq and Syria through Lebanon, which Iran uses to smuggle in weapons and rockets, mainly to the Hezbollah terror group.

"The Iranian entrenchment in Syria is in a clear slowdown as a result of IDF activity, but we still have a long way to go to complete our goals", he said. Abu Kamal is very close to the Iraq border near a main crossing point for Iran-backed forces into Syria.

"At 1:10am (2310 GMT Tuesday), the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault on the town of Deir Ezzor and the Albu Kamal region", SANA said, citing a military source.

The daily said Israeli experts, most of whom are former representatives of the Israeli army and intelligence agencies, recommended that Israel be prepared for such a development, adding that pro-Iranian forces will be able to significantly increase the accuracy of their attacks against Israeli positions in 2021.

The Israeli air force carried out more than 18 strikes against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Ezzor to the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. At least 57 fighters were killed and dozens were wounded, according to a Syrian opposition war monitoring group.

Iran's state-run Arabic TV channel, Al-Alam, quoted a source as saying "no Iranians, Syrians, or members of the Fatemiyoun Brigade were martyred".

A senior USA intelligence official told The Associated Press that the strikes targeted warehouses used to stage Iranian weapons in Syria.

The official said the warehouses also served as a pipeline for components that supports Iran's nuclear program.

The Israel Defense Forces had no comment on the late-night strikes, in accordance with its policy to neither confirm nor deny its operations in Syria, save for those in retaliation for an attack from the country.

The last strikes on January 7 targeted positions in southern Syria and in the southern outskirts of the capital Damascus, killing three pro-Iran fighters.

Wednesday's were the deadliest strikes attributed to Israel since the start of the war in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

In June 2018, strikes on the same region had killed at least 55 pro-government fighters, including Iraqis as well as Syrians.

Many fear retaliation for the USA killing of Iran's Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani past year in Baghdad may come before Trump leaves office, or that conflict could erupt to scuttle efforts by Joe Biden's incoming administration to negotiate with Iran.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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