The target of the attack, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, were positions and weapons depots of the Army of Bashar al-Assad and of fighters that support him, supported by Iran. It is the fourth attack in less than three weeks and the second in 2021.
It is considered one of Israel’s deadliest attacks on Syrian territory since the conflict broke out in 2011 and the region is on high alert.
In the early hours of Wednesday, Israeli warplanes launched an air assault near the main border crossing with Iraq. The attacks affected areas in the cities of Deir el-Zour, Mayadeen and Boukamal, along the Iraqi border.
As a result, at least 57 people died in the attack and dozens were injured. Most of those killed are soldiers in President Bashar al-Assad’s army and the rest are Iranian-backed foreign fighters backing Damascus, including 16 Iraqis and 11 Afghans, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH).
Israel routinely carries out raids in Syria, mostly against targets linked to Iran in what it says is a bid to prevent Tehran from consolidating a foothold on its northern border https://t.co/zzy4Frnn9Q
– Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) January 13, 2021
According to the same source, the targets were a series of warehouses in Syria used to store and mount Iranian weapons and positions of fighters backing Al-Assad.
Residents of the Deir ez-Zor region affirmed that they could hear the sound of the explosions and agreed that these would correspond to the destruction of weapons depots.
The alliance of the United States and Israel to attack
The attacks would be the result of an offensive that has intensified in recent days by the administration of Donald Trump, an ally of the Israeli government. A senior US official said that the air strikes in recent weeks have been carried out with intelligence information provided by Washington.
This source even pointed out that the attack that occurred on Tuesday was discussed between the head of the Israeli spy agency, Yossi Cohen, and the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.
Although Israel has yet to comment on the recent actions, Defense Force chief of staff Aviv Kochavi said last month that missile operations had “slowed Iran’s entrenchment in Syria”, adding that in 2020 they reached more than 500 objectives.
Israel has already signaled that it aims to end Tehran’s military presence on Syrian territory, which, according to intelligence sources, has expanded in recent years.
The intensification of the attacks comes just before Joe Biden assumes the presidency of the United States next week, at which point his administration could reassess Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy on Iran.
Israel sees the Iranian presence on its border as a red line, which is why it has repeatedly attacked facilities linked to the Islamic Republic and armories of the Lebanon’s Hezbollah group.
Reports from the Israeli newspaper ‘Haaretz’ indicated that the Israeli army is on a high level of alert and as part of it deployed an air defense battery of Patriot missiles, in the sea port of Eilat, in the south of the nation. .
Precisely the concern extends to Lebanese territory, a country with which the Israeli government has sustained long-standing tensions. According to reports from Beirut, Israeli planes have been violating that country’s airspace in recent days by crossing over the capital at low altitude.
And although the Israelis maintain that these operations are necessary because Hezbollah violates the UN resolution that prohibits it from developing its military capabilities and operating near Israel’s border, Lebanon has already filed an urgent complaint with the United Nations for violations of its airspace. .
With Reuters, AP and local media