Alleged Israeli strikes target northern, eastern Syria

Iranian militia targets were bombed near Aleppo and in the Deir ez-Zor countryside.

al-monitor A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency on May 1, 2020, shows smoke billowing above buildings in Syria's central city of Homs.  Photo by SANA/AFP via Getty Images.

May 5, 2020

Israel reportedly carried out two airstrikes in northern and eastern Syria amid increased Israeli action against Iranian targets there.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said today that Israeli jets struck Iran-backed militia targets in the Deir ez-Zor countryside in the country’s east, killing 15 Iranian and Iraqi citizens. Late last night, Israel also bombed a weapons depot belonging to Syrian government and Iranian forces near Al-Safira outside Aleppo, the observatory said.

Syria’s state media SANA reported that a “hostile flight” dropped missiles targeting military depots in Al-Safira late Monday evening. The damage is unknown and Syria activated its air defense systems as a result, according to SANA, which did not attribute the strikes to Israel.

SANA did not report the strikes in Deir ez-Zor.

The news comes at a time of increased alleged Israeli airstrikes in Syria targeting Iran’s allies and assets. Last week, Israel bombed Iran-backed militias near the Syrian capital Damascus. There were also strikes in the central city of Homs and in the Syrian Golan Heights close to the Israeli border days later.

The strike near Aleppo occurred farther north than other alleged Israeli airstrikes, which typically have been near Damascus and the Lebanese border.

Israeli officials typically do not confirm their operations in Syria against Iran. However, Israeli leaders have made statements indicating attacks against Iran in the region. Last August, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “Iran has no immunity anywhere” after suspected Israeli airstrikes on Iran-backed militias in Iraq.

More recently, after last week’s bombing in Damascus, Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel is “blocking Iran’s entrenchment in Syria.”

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