UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — 12 fighters of pro-Iranian groups were killed in an aerial bombardment, which Damascus accused Israel of launching at night on military sites near Damascus and in the south of the country, in a new target put by Tel Aviv in its efforts to prevent Tehran from establishing its presence in Syria.
The Syrian air defenses resisted at dawn, according to the official news agency SANA quoting a military source for “two waves of air aggression (…) and targeting some of our military sites in the vicinity of Damascus and military sites in the vicinity of Damascus countryside, Daraa and Quneitra” in the south.
Damascus reported that “eight fighters were wounded” without specifying the location of their injuries or their nationalities, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed on Thursday the death of 12 pro-Iranian fighters, Syrians and non-Syrians.
The observatory stated that seven foreign fighters were killed in the Al-Kiswa area, south of Damascus, where Iranian forces and groups loyal to them are present. Five Syrian fighters belonging to a pro-Iranian group were also killed in the Izra area of Daraa Governorate.
Israel did not adopt the bombing, which Damascus said was carried out with “a number of missiles fired by Israeli warplanes over southern Lebanon and the occupied Golan” before large numbers of them were destroyed.
In response to a question by Agence France Presse, an Israeli army spokesman said at dawn, “We do not comment on foreign media reports.”
And AFP correspondents heard the sound of several explosions resonating in several parts of Damascus, starting at 1:15 (2315 GMT) after midnight. Syrian state television broadcast live scenes showing flashes caused by the explosions in the vicinity of Damascus.
In recent years, Israel has intensified its bombardment in Syria, targeting mainly Syrian army sites and Iranian and other targets of the Lebanese Hezbollah. It reiterates that it will continue to counter what it describes as Iran’s attempts to establish a military presence in Syria and to send advanced weapons to Hezbollah.
The Israeli bombing often affects the headquarters or bases in which Iranian forces or Shiite groups loyal to them are from Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Lebanese Hezbollah.
Blows targeting the “Altifor” military airport in the center of the country on January 14, and Damascus accused Israel of launching, at least, three pro-Iranian fighters, according to the observatory.
On November 20, the Israeli army claimed responsibility for a series of “large-scale” air strikes targeting forces of the Syrian regime and another of the Iranian Qods Force, killing 21 fighters, including 16 foreigners, in addition to two civilians, according to the observatory.
In the same month, an Israeli strike targeted the home of an Islamic Jihad leader, Akram al-Ajuri, in Damascus, killing two people, including his son, in conjunction with an operation launched by Israel against the movement in the Gaza Strip.
In several statements in recent months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Iran of plotting to attack Israel, stressing that he will do everything possible to deter it.
Tehran is a major supporter of Damascus. Since the conflict began in 2011, it has provided significant political, economic and military support to Damascus. With Shiite groups loyal to it, it was able to adjust the balance of forces on the ground in favor of the Syrian government forces on several fronts.
The Israeli strikes coincided at night with violent battles by the regime forces in northwestern Syria against the fighting factions, headed by the Headquarters for the Liberation of Al-Sham (formerly Al-Nusra Front).
At night, Turkey sent new military reinforcements to the region, according to the observatory, which Damascus denounced.
An official source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, according to statements carried by SANA, “In open harmony and exposed and under cover of the Israeli aggression, yesterday Turkish forces penetrated the Syrian border and spread” between three towns located north and northeast of the city of Idlib.
He considered that “the attacks by the Turkish regime or the Israeli entity, or both, will not dissuade the Syrian Arab Army from continuing its battle against terrorism until the liberation of all Syrian soil and an end to the terrorist presence entirely in Syria.”
In Brussels, the European Union called on Thursday to stop the bombing by the Syrian forces in the Idlib governorate in northwestern Syria and the possibility of humanitarian aid entering them.
The Syrian conflict, since its inception in 2011, has killed more than 380,000 people, and more than half of the country’s population, which was counting more than 20 million people, were forced to flee or seek refuge outside the country.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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