Convoy of Iranian Forces Was Bombed Near U.S. Base in Syria, Report Says

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Eight killed, including Iranian and Syrians, in air strike as Iranian foreign minister visits Damascus ahead of battle over Idlib

A picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 26, 2018 shows Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami (R) and his Syrian counterpart Abdullah Ayoub (L) in the capital Damascus.

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A convoy of Iranian forces was hit by air strikes near the U.S.' Al-Tanf base in Syria, as reported on Monday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors victims of the fighting. According to the report, an Iranian citizen, four Syrians and three non-Syrian combatants were killed in the attack.

Rami Abdel Rahman, the chairman of the Syrian organization, whose headquarters are in London, said that it was not known who was responsible for the attack. The AFT news agency turned to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition asking whether it had bombed the convoy, but there was no response.

The site of the strike is located near Syria's borders with Iraq and Jordan.

The report of the attack came at a time when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was visiting Damascus for talks with senior Syrian officials, in advance of the battle for Idlib in the northwest of the country, which is considered the last major rebel enclave. It was the second time in a week that a senior Iranian official visited Syria.

Iran's defense minister arrived in Damascus last week and signed an agreement for defensive cooperative between the two countries. Tehran has provided Syrian President Bashar Assad with military support in recent years in his war against the rebel forces opposing his regime.

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Sunday saw a report in Syria about an aerial strike near the Al Mezzeh military airport in Damascus, which was attributed to Israel. According to a source in the pro-Assad regional alliance, Syria's aerial defense systems shot down the Israeli missiles. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that two military men were killed and another 11 were wounded.

On Friday Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to meet in Iran to discuss developments in Syria. "I believe that the meeting will be successful and beneficial for the region, the people of Syria and the struggle against terror," said Bahram Qassemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry, to Iran's Fars news agency.

Qassemi added that Idlib is one of the most complex issues on the agenda, and said that Damascus "is determined to put an end to this catastrophe. The Syrian government has a right to fight terror in the region. Iran, as a supporter of the government, is present and will continue with its assistance as long as the Syrian government is interested."