Two fighters linked to Iran were killed in Israel’s latest air strike on targets in Syria, a war monitor said on Sunday, with state news agency SANA reporting five Syrian soldiers were wounded.
The strike early Sunday near the western Syrian city of Homs was Israel’s third since early Thursday, after the capital Damascus was targeted that morning and early Friday.
During more than a decade of the Syrian civil war, Israel has launched hundreds of airstrikes on Syrian territory, mainly targeting Iranian-backed forces and Lebanese Hezbollah fighters as well as army posts. Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said “two pro-Iranian fighters whose nationalities are so far unknown” were killed in the strikes that targeted military positions of Syrian government forces and pro-Iranian groups.
– explosions –
The monitor, which relies on a network of sources in Syria, said explosions hit Homs and a fire broke out at a research center.
“An arms depot belonging to the Lebanese Hezbollah forces was destroyed in the Dabaa military airport, in the southwestern sector of Homs,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that the two fighters were killed in strikes on the arms depot.
State news agency SANA, citing a military source, reported that “the enemy of Israel carried out an air attack… targeting positions in the city of Homs and its province”.
Syrian air defenses intercepted several missiles, but five soldiers were injured and some material damage was reported, SANA said. Abdel Rahman brought the same number of wounded soldiers.
In Friday’s strikes, Israel launched “several missiles from the occupied Golan Heights” against positions near Damascus, Syrian state media said.
The Observatory said the strikes targeted an arms and ammunition depot belonging to Syrian military and pro-Iranian groups.
Sepahnews, the website of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said on Friday that officer Milad Heidari had been killed.
On Sunday, the website reported that Meghdad Mahghani, a military adviser who was injured in the same strike, had reached “the high rank of martyrdom”.
He also said that Israel will “pay”.
– Drone down –
Later in the day, Israel shot down a drone that infiltrated its airspace from Syria, the Israeli army said.
“Helicopters and fighter jets were deployed after an unidentified aircraft that appears to have crossed Syria into Israeli territory,” an army statement said.
“The aircraft was loaded in an open area,” he said. A spokesman confirmed to AFP that it was unmanned.
Later on Sunday evening, a car bomb hit Damascus, SANA said, citing a police source, when “an explosive device detonated in a civilian car, setting it on fire without causing any casualties”.
The interior ministry said “two people were slightly injured” in the incident which targeted a pickup truck.
It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack.
Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani condemned Israel’s latest attack on Syria, saying Sunday that “the blood of these high-ranking martyrs will not go to waste” and that Tehran “retains its right to respond… at the time and in the proper place “.
Israel carried out several airstrikes on Syrian targets in March, according to the Observatory.
Although Israel rarely comments on its strikes on targets in Syria, it has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-enemy Iran to expand its footprint in the war-torn country.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking after the strike on Sunday, said: “We are getting a high price from the regimes that support terrorism, outside Israel’s borders. I urge you not to forget our enemies .”
Israel has seen weeks of protests against the government’s now controversial judicial overhaul, but Netanyahu said his country’s internal debate “will not take one iota from our determination, our strength and our ability to act against our enemies on all sides, wherever and when necessary. .”
On March 22, an Israeli missile strike destroyed a suspected weapons depot used by an Iranian-backed militia at Syria’s Aleppo airport, the Observatory said.
Syria’s war has escalated into a deadly armed conflict that has drawn in foreign powers and global jihadists, killed about 500,000 people, and forced about half of Syria’s pre-war population from their homes.
But in recent months Arab engagement with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which has been politically isolated since Syria’s war began in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on peaceful anti-government protests, has increased.
On Saturday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met in Cairo with his Syrian counterpart Faisal Mekdad, the first time since the war began.