Israel Reportedly Strikes Targets in Southern Syria in First Since mid-September

Jack Khoury
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A strike in Damascus, Syria, 2019.
A strike in Damascus, Syria, 2019. Credit: SANA / AP
Jack Khoury

Israel struck targets near Quneitra, in the Syrian Golan Heights, the state-run Syrian news agency SANA reported on Tuesday night, in a first since mid-September.

According to SANA, the strike targeted a school in the village of Al Huriah in the Quneitra province in the Syrian Golan Heights, while Syrian Opposition groups reported the strike targeted Hezbollah positions in the village. 

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The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is affiliated with opposition groups, later reported that a pro-Iranian militia headquarters was hit. The Saudi-based Al-Arabiya channel quoted the observatory as saying that there were deaths in the strike, but did not provide more details. 

Earlier on Tuesday, the Israeli army struck an underground Hamas infrastructure in the southern Gaza Strip.

The army said that it came as a response to a rocket launched from the Strip at Israel earlier, which was intercepted by Iron Dome missile defense.

The incident occurred a few hours after the military said it had uncovered an offensive tunnel that runs from Gaza and into Israeli territory, adding that it is not known to which Gaza faction the tunnel belongs, but that it held Hamas responsible. 

On September 14, a Syrian opposition war monitor reported that a suspected Israeli airstrike on Iran-backed fighters in eastern Syria killed 10 fighters, including eight Iraqis.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrike hit an area close the town of Boukamal near the Iraqi border. It added that the strikes also destroyed arms depots and ambulances were seen rushing to the area.

The Observatory said the 10 killed were eight Iraqis and two Syrians. It said the strike is the third this month in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour that borders Iraq.

Earlier in September, an airstrike attributed to Israel south of Damascus killed 10 fighters, most of whom belonged to Iranian- and Hezbollah-backed militias, according to a human rights watchdog. 

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that three Syrian regime soldiers were killed in the strike, and seven members of militias loyal to Iran and Hezbollah who were not Syrian citizens.

The report, which has not been confirmed by state sources, noted that the strike targeted military installations near the Damascus airport and the Daraa area. 

Israel rarely comments on such reports, but is believed to have carried out scores of raids targeting Iran’s military presence in Syria. In the past four months alone, Syria has accused Israel of carrying out at least eight air raids on its territory. 

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