Israel’s Air Force attacked several military sites belonging to Iranian-backed groups in eastern Syria near the Iraq border Wednesday morning. The strikes took place after recent warnings by the Israeli military that it would act against Iranian entrenchment in Syria and the smuggling of precision guided munitions from Iran.
Syria’s state-run news agency (SANA) confirmed the attack but did not divulge details about the strikes.
“Military source: At 1:10 am today, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression against the city of Deir al-Zour and the al-Bukamal area. The results of the aggression are currently being verified,” a SANA report stated.
Citing a senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the attack the Associated Press reported the “airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States” and the “strikes targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used in a pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.”
According to Omar Abu Layla, CEO of Deir al-Zour 24, a German-based monitoring group, the airstrikes targeted the “Aiyash warehouses” which “are some of the largest warehouses of Iranian militias in Syria, as they contain tunnels and underground depots.”
The number of dead and wounded has not yet been verified but pro-Syrian regime activists have identified one Syrian soldier from Masyaf as being killed in the attack.
As previously covered on FDD’s Long War Journal, in recent weeks the IDF has stepped up military operations in Syria in the form of airstrikes against Syrian air defense units and a leaflet campaign warning commanders of the Syrian Arab Army against aiding Hezbollah.
Wednesday’s attack is unusual due to the location being deep inside Syrian territory. It is noteworthy to mention that the area is a known hub for Iranian military activity due to the Islamic Republic’s efforts to build a land bridge between Iran and the Mediterranean.
The Jan. 6 airstrikes against an air defense site in southern Syria was likely the first step in a series of operations aimed at hampering the Syrian army’s ability to detect Israeli aircraft carrying out Wednesday’s strikes.
Additionally, the admission by a senior American intelligence official of the coordination between Israel and the U.S. is a message to Iran that the countries will react militarily against it.
Given the uptick in attacks and overt warnings by Israel, it is the assessment of FDD’s Long War Journal that the Israeli military will likely continue operations against Iran and its proxy forces in Syria over the coming weeks.
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