JEDDAH: At least seven people were killed on Wednesday when Iranian and Hezbollah targets in an area of eastern Syria controlled by the Assad regime were hit by a drone strike.
The attack in Deir Ezzor province destroyed a weapons factory and a truck loaded with weapons, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group in the UK with a network of sources in Syria.
The strike killed three pro-Iranian fighters from Afghanistan, three Syrian civilians and one other unidentified Syrian, Abdel Rahman said.
Israel has carried out repeated air and missile strikes against regime forces and their Iran-backed allies in Syria since the civil war broke out in 2011. It rarely comments on individual military operations. The US-led coalition fighting the remnants of Daesh in Iraq and Syria has also carried out strikes against pro-Iran fighters in Syria.
Wednesday’s attack targeted a part of Deir Ezzor where top Iranian commanders and senior Hezbollah officers live. Pro-Iran factions aligned with the Assad regime, including Iraqi groups and Hezbollah, are heavily deployed south and west of the Euphrates River which bisects Deir Ezzor province.
The attack followed a series of drone strikes on Jan. 30 on a 25-truck Iranian weapons convoy in the province that killed 11 people, including a pro-Iranian commander.
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The conflict in Syria has killed nearly half a million people and forced about half of the country’s pre-war population from their homes. The UN special envoy for Syria on Wednesday urged the warring sides and the international community to revive efforts to find a political solution.
“There needs to be a genuine Syrian-led and owned political process facilitated by the UN," Geir Otto Pedersen said. “There needs to be a coordinated international effort in support of this. The status quo cannot be acceptable. We need to move forward.”
The devastation caused by the conflict has been compounded by large-scale destruction caused by earthquakes in February. Pedersen said the warring sides and international players should approach peace efforts in the same way as they responded to the quakes.
“A month ago there was no prospect of the opening of more border crossings, nor moves to ease sanctions in a concrete way,” he said. “They need the same logic that was applied on the humanitarian front to now be applied on the political level.”