Israel kills 57 in Syria in deadliest attack since 2018 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 14, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:14 AM, January 14, 2021

Israel kills 57 in Syria in deadliest attack since 2018

Israeli raids targeting arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria killed at least 57 pro-regime fighters, in the deadliest such strikes since 2018, a war monitor said yesterday. 

The Israeli air force carried out more than 18 strikes against multiple targets in an area stretching from the eastern town of Deir Ezzor to the Iraqi border, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The overnight raids killed fourteen Syrian soldiers and 27 foreign militia fighters whose nationalities were not immediately known, the Britain-based monitoring group said. The monitor couldn't verify the 16 other people killed. 

They wounded at least 37 others.

Paramilitaries belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and the Fatimid Brigade, which is made up of pro-Iranian Afghan fighters, operate in the region, the Observatory said.

Days before the strikes, the Fatimid Brigade transported a consignment of Iranian-manufactured weapons to eastern Syria from neighbouring Iraq.

They were stored in the region targeted yesterday, the monitor said.

The Israeli military did not immediately comment.

The latest raids came hours after separate strikes near the Iraqi border killed at least 12 Iran-backed militia fighters on Tuesday.

The Observatory said it could not identify the warplanes responsible for the earlier strikes.

It is less than a week since the last wave of Israeli strikes in Syria.

On January 7, Israel targeted positions in the south and in the southern outskirts of Damascus, killing three pro-Iran fighters.

Israel routinely carries out raids in Syria, mostly against targets linked to Iran in what it says is a bid to prevent its arch foe from consolidating a foothold on its northern border.

Observers have warned that Donald Trump and Israel could up the ante against Iran and its regional allies in the dying days of the US president's tenure.

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