BEIRUT, AMMAN: Israeli airstrikes in Syria overnight killed at least eight fighters operating in pro-Iran militias, a war monitor said on Wednesday.
The raids targeted an arms depot and a position held by Iranian forces and their Lebanese ally Hezbollah near the capital Damascus, and a pro-Iran militia position in southern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
Military defectors believe the targeted sites have a strong Iranian military presence. They said the strike targeted a military base in Jabal Mane Heights near the town of Kiswa, where Iranian Revolutionary Guards have long been entrenched in a rugged area almost 15 km south of the center of Damascus.
The area has anti-aircraft missiles that are stationed to defend the Syrian Golan Heights along the border with Israel, the military sources said.
Israeli defense officials have said in recent months that Israel would step up its campaign against Iran in Syria, where Tehran has expanded its presence with the help of its proxy militias.
Israel has carried out hundreds of air and missile strikes on Syria, targeting regime troops as well as Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah forces, which support Bashar Assad.
Last week, Israeli warplanes struck Iranian targets in Syria, in what the Israeli army called a retaliatory attack for what it said were explosive devices found near one of its bases on the Golan Heights.
The nationalities of the fighters, who died in the latest air raid, was not immediately known, the Britain-based monitor said.
Syrian state media earlier said an Israeli airstrike had hit an area “south of Damascus” just before midnight local time.
It also reported another strike against the village of Rwihinah in the southern province of Quneitra near the Golan Heights, without reporting any casualties from either attack.
The Israeli army rarely acknowledges individual strikes and refused to comment when contacted by AFP on Wednesday.
The Syrian media reported that those strikes had killed three Syrian soldiers, while the Observatory said seven allied foreign fighters also died.
On Saturday night, airstrikes killed 14 pro-Iran militia fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan in eastern Syria, the Observatory said, adding they were likely Israeli air raids.
Western intelligence sources say Israel’s stepped-up strikes on Syria in the last few months are a part of a shadow war, approved by Washington and part of the anti-Iran policy that has undermined in the last two years Iran’s extensive military power without triggering a major increase in hostilities.