Two Killed in Israeli Strike on Syrian Air Base, Watchdog Says

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File photo: Airstrike over Damascus, Syria.
File photo: Airstrike over Damascus, Syria.Credit: OMAR SANADIKI / REUTERS

Two Iran-backed militants were killed after Israel struck targets in Syria's military air base near Homs, a human rights watchdog reported Saturday.

The airstrike also injured six soldiers and caused material damage, official Syrian media reported Friday.

Israel has targeted the T4 military air base in the past, which is known to house Iranian forces.

"The Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression from the direction of the military area of Al-Tanf with bursts of missiles towards the T4 military airport in the central region," a source said, adding that the air defenses had brought down most of the missiles. 

The Israeli military declined to comment.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes inside Syria in the course of the country’s civil war, targeting what it says are suspected arms shipments believed to be bound for Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which is fighting alongside Syrian government forces. It rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

In September, Israel fired missiles over Damascus, also activating air defenses, according to Syrian state media. 

Also that month, an unidentified aircraft hit a base run by Iranian-backed militias in Syria's eastern province of Deir al Zor near the Iraqi border where Tehran has in the last year expanded its military presence, according to residents and military sources.

They said the strikes were south of the town of Mayadeen along the Euphrates River which has become a major base for several Shi'ite militias, mostly from Iraq, since Islamic State militants were driven out nearly four years ago.

In August, Russia's military said Syria had shot down 22 missiles launched by Israeli warplanes at targets in Syria. A few days prior to that, Syrian media reported that Israel had struck targets near the border province of Quneitra.

The watchdog, Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Friday that the missiles struck areas where Iran-backed fighters are based.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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