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Syrian soldier among three dead in Israeli strikes: war monitor

Smoke billows from the site reportedly targeted by Israeli airstrikes in this image released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency
— Beirut (AFP)

Israeli airstrikes targeting a weapons depot in Syria killed an army officer and two pro-Iran fighters, a war monitor said, raising the death toll of the Sunday morning raid.

"Israeli strikes targeted a weapons depot belonging to pro-Iran forces located... between Tartus and Hama provinces," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, adding that an air defence position was also targeted.

"The number of dead has risen to three," the Britain-based Observatory said, reporting that an army officer was killed in addition to two pro-Iran fighters, while two other soldiers were wounded.

Syrian state news agency SANA, citing a military source, reported that "at around 7:15 am (0415 GMT), the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack, firing missiles from the direction of north Lebanon with targets in the Tartus and Hama countryside".

SANA did not specify the target, but had said the attack "wounded three soldiers and caused some material losses". It added that Syrian air defences intercepted some of the missiles.

The Israeli military said it does not comment "on reports in the foreign media".

Since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes there, targeting government troops as well as Iran-backed forces and Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters.

The Israeli military rarely comments on individual strikes against Syria, but has vowed repeatedly to keep up its air campaign to stop arch foe Iran consolidating its presence.

On Tuesday, Israeli warplanes killed three people in a raid on the airport in Aleppo, Syria's second city, the Observatory said.

On February 19, an Israeli airstrike killed 15 people in a Damascus district that houses state security agencies, according to the war monitor.