Ten Killed in Suspected Israeli Strike on Iran-backed Fighters in Syria, War Monitor Says

Strike also destroyed arms depots near the Iraqi border, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says ■ Turkish Red Crescent worker killed in separate incident in northern Syria

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Missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019.
Missiles flying into the sky near international airport, in Damascus, Syria, January 21, 2019.Credit: SANA / AP

A suspected Israeli airstrike on Iran-backed fighters in eastern Syria on Monday killed ten fighters, including eight Iraqis, a Syrian opposition war monitor reported.

Israel rarely comments on such reports, but is believed to have carried out scores of raids targeting Iran’s military presence in Syria in recent years.

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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.

The Observatory gave no further details. There was no comment from Syrian state media.

Israel views Iran as a regional menace and has vowed to prevent any permanent Iranian military buildup in Syria, particularly near the frontier.

In recent months, Israeli officials have expressed concern that Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Lebanese militant group that operates in Syria, is trying to establish facilities to produce precision-guided missiles.

Meanwhile in northern Syria, an attack on a Turkish Red Crescent vehicle killed a member of the aid agency and wounded another, the group said Monday.

Armed masked men wearing camouflage clothing traveling in two cars without license plates attacked the Red Crescent vehicle as it traveled through al-Bab, a Turkish-controlled zone in northern Syria, the aid group said in a statement.

The Red Crescent said their vehicle was clearly marked with their logos. A third employee in the vehicle survived without injuries.

Turkey has held al-Bab since 2017 amid Syria’s years-long conflict, which initially began as a civil war that later became a regional proxy fight. Turkey has backed opposition fighters against Syrian President Bashar Assad, Syrian Kurdish fighters and the Islamic State group.