Suspected Israeli airstrikes on eastern Syria killed 16 Iranian-backed fighters on Thursday, a war observer said, hours after Damascus said it intercepted Israeli missiles fired at a central air base.
Those killed were “Iraqi paramilitary fighters loyal to Iran, seven of whom were killed outside the town of Mayadeen,” said Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights based. in Great Britain.
The other nine were killed in strikes south of the town of Albu Kamal, on the Iraqi border further east.
Mr Abdul Rahman said Israel was “presumably” responsible for the attack, which, if confirmed, would mark the second such strike in less than 24 hours and the third this week.
Late Wednesday, Syrian air defenses intercepted missiles fired by an Israeli fighter jet at the T4 air base in central Syria, the state-run SANA news agency reported.
“Our air defenses intercepted most of them,” he said, adding that the attack only caused material damage.
On Monday, Israeli strikes killed one civilian, three government soldiers and seven Allied foreign fighters, the Observatory said.
Monday’s strikes hit Syrian army positions south of Damascus and facilities used by Iranian-backed paramilitaries, including Lebanese Hezbollah fighters, the Observatory said.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes and missiles on Syria since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, targeting Iranian and Hezbollah forces as well as government troops.
The Israeli military rarely recognizes individual strikes, but confirmed on August 3 that it had used fighter jets, attack helicopters and other planes to strike military targets in southern Syria.