The airstrikes were intensive, with 15 militia members reportedly killed.
An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli air force pilots
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Iranian positions near Albukamal, a key border city in Syria that is near Iraq, were hit by “unidentified jets,” according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. These areas are festooned with pro-Iranian militias who have entrenched at a base called Imam Ali and spread themselves like a carpet along the western bank of the Euphrates river. They have a network of bases and smuggling routes and houses they occupy all the way to Deir Ezzor and also inland towards bases known as T-4, T-3 and T-2. This area has been hit by airstrikes monthly for more than a year.
The recent attacks took place between five in the morning and nine in the morning, apparently on August 3 although the reports emerged on August 4. They targeted Iranian-backed forces at Imam Ali, an area named Al-Sekka and also in the desert near Deir Ezzor. There were casualties and weapons were destroyed. “Military vehicles affiliated with the targeted forces transported the dead and injured,” SOHR says.
The SOHR report was picked up at Al-Ain where the report also notes that “15 Iraqi militia members loyal to Iran” were killed. The airstrikes were intensive. Al-Ain says that a major explosion also happened at Al-Hizam al-Akhdar area near Albukamal, targeting an Iranian militia there. Iran has some 20-30,000 affiliated militias in Syria but only around 800 actual Iranian operatives linked to the IRGC. Iran has signed a deal to support Syrian air defense which could see it deploy the 3rd Khordad or Bavar systems. Iran tried to move a 3rd Khordad to T-4 base in April 2018 but it was hit by an airstrike.
The Syrian regime blames Israel for airstrikes in Syria. Israel has carried out more than 1,000 airstrikes on Iranian targeted in the past. Israel says it carried out other airstrikes in Syria on August 3 in retaliation for a thwarted IED planting effort by an unknown group in Syria near the Golan. “Jets, attack helicopters and aircraft struck military targets in southern Syrian belonging to the Syrian armed forces,” the Israel Defense Forces said on Monday. Al-Ain says that this is “noteworthy” in its reports about the strikes by unknown aircraft near Albukamal.
Hezbollah says one of is members was killed on July 20 in airstrikes in Syria and Hezbollah blamed Israel, leading to tensions. On June 24 wide ranging airstrikes hit a number of locations in Syria, including “dish hill” near Suwayda and also points near Deir Ezzor. At least seven Iranians and Syrians were allegedly killed in those strikes and reports at the time indicated Iran might respond.