According to an unverified report on Friday, days after the head of Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was reportedly in Syria for talks, suspected Israeli strikes in Syria overnight targeted Iranian forces housed on Syrian military bases.
Israeli warplanes struck areas near the Syrian capital Damascus shortly after midnight on Friday, killing three soldiers and wounding seven others, Syrian state media reported earlier.
Among the sites affected was a base in Damascus used by a brigade of Syria’s powerful Fourth Division, led by Maher Assad, brother of dictator Bashar Assad and seen by some as an army within an army, al-Arabiya reported on Friday. in Saudi Arabia.
Al Arabiya attributed the information to unspecified “sources”.
According to the outlet, members of Iran’s Quds Force Expeditionary Militia host their own weapons stores and warehouses at bases used by the Syrian Fourth Division and First Division, as well as the Syrian Navy. The situation means that some Syrian soldiers ended up working as guards under de facto Iranian command, the newspaper said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that eight people were killed in the strikes. Among the dead were three non-Syrians, two Syrians working with the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and three Syrians guarding an air defense battery. The state-run SANA news agency reported earlier that three members of the Syrian army had been killed.
The Britain-based opposition monitor, which relies on a network of informants inside Syria and has been criticized for having unclear sources of funding, said the missiles hit intelligence offices at al-Mazzah air base in the Syrian capital and an Iranian warehouse in the southern suburbs of Damascus. by Sayyidah Zaynab.
Footage circulating on social media allegedly from the site showed heavy damage to a building.
– Noun and the feather (Najla Al-Saadi) (@najlaasaadee) July 21, 2022
There was no comment on the strikes from the Israel Defense Forces, which does not comment on individual strikes except those in retaliation for specific attacks on Israel.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria over the past decade, mostly to thwart attempts by Iranian forces to transfer weapons to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah or gain a foothold on Israel’s northern border.
Major General Hossein Salami, who commands the IRGC, was in Syria last week to discuss the treatment of Iran-backed militias in the country, al-Arabiya said, citing the same unspecified sources.
The report says the two also discussed deployment positioning.
Reports have indicated growing animosity between Iran-backed militias and Syrian forces in Syria over the co-optation of Syrian soldiers as well as disputes over where certain groups deploy and who controls smuggling routes.
The last strike in Syria attributed to Israel was on July 6, when a Syrian soldier was reportedly killed in an Israeli drone strike near the border with Israel.
Prior to that, on July 2, Israel reportedly attacked a site in the town of al-Hamidiyah, south of Tartous, near the border with Lebanon.
Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.