Several said killed in airstrikes on Iranian-controlled weapons depots in Syria 

Source: Several said killed in airstrikes on Iranian-controlled weapons depots in Syria | The Times of Israel

Syrian opposition media outlet says unidentified aircraft targeted three munitions storehouses near Iraqi border

Illustrative. An explosion reportedly caused by an Israeli strike is seen at the Mazzeh military base near Damascus, Syria, on September 2, 2018. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Illustrative. An explosion reportedly caused by an Israeli strike is seen at the Mazzeh military base near Damascus, Syria, on September 2, 2018. (Screen capture: Twitter)

Unidentified aircraft bombed three Iranian-controlled weapons depots on Saturday night, killing several members of Tehran-supported militias, Syrian media reported.

Some news outlets in the country said that four fighters were killed in the strike, while others said five. The Syrian government did not immediately release an official tally.

According to the Syrian Step News agency, the airstrikes occurred around 10 p.m. on Saturday, targeting three munitions storehouses in the Boulkamal region of Syria, near the Iraqi border, an area that has reportedly been hit by many Israeli raids in the past year.

The outlet cited “well-placed sources” as saying that the four people killed were guards at the storehouses who were members of militias backed by Iran.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said that at least five militiamen were killed in the strike.

There were no immediate reports of who was responsible for the strikes, though defense analysts indicated that Israel was the likely actor.

The Israeli military as a rule does not comment on specific airstrikes in Syria, save for those that are in retaliation for attacks on Israel.

New Defense Minister Naftali Bennett (R) meets with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi on November 13, 2019. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry

On Sunday, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel was taking action to force Iran’s military presence out of Syria.

“We are telling the Iranians: Syria will become your Vietnam,” he said, referring to the disastrous American war.

“If you don’t leave, you will become entrenched and you will bleed because we will work without hesitation to remove aggressive forces from Syria,” Bennett said.

The Saturday night strikes came days after reports of a similar raid in the same region.

Last Wednesday, unidentified aircraft bombed other Iranian-controlled weapons storehouses in Boulkamal, causing a massive explosion, according to Step News.

The outlet reported that the planes fired several missiles at warehouses belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps at the al-Hamdan airport, outside Deir Ezzor. Troops on the ground fired anti-aircraft weapons at the attacking planes, the news site said. There were no reports of casualties in that raid.

Satellite image showing the aftermath of an overnight airstrike on an alleged Iranian military base in Syria’s Boukamal region, near the Iraqi border, on September 9, 2019. (ImageSat International)

The Abulkamal region, near Syria’s border with Iraq, is seen as a crucial region for Iran and its plans to establish a land corridor to the Mediterranean Sea in order to more easily transport materiel and fighters throughout the Middle East.

The reported attack on the IRGC weapons caches came some three weeks after a flareup between Jerusalem and Tehran, during which Iranian troops fired several rockets at northern Israel from Syria and the Israel Defense Forces retaliated with a series of airstrikes on Iranian and Syrian military targets.

According to a Syrian war monitor, at least 23 combatants were killed in those strikes, 16 of them likely Iranians. An Israeli official said the military believed that to be an inflated number, with the actual death toll estimated to be closer to 10.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from Syria.

Though it does not generally comment on specific attacks, Israel has admitted to carrying out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets over the last several years. Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports Hezbollah and Gaza terrorists.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

 

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