Monitor: Four pro-Iranian fighters killed in Israeli strikes on Syria


Four pro-Iranian fighters were killed in Israeli airstrikes on an arms depot and their posts in Syria the previous night, a war monitor reported on Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights added that the dead militiamen were members of the Lebanese Iran-allied Hezbollah movement and were Syrian and Lebanese citizens.

The Britain-based monitor said an unspecified number of fighters had also been injured in the strikes on the area of Qara in the countryside around Damascus near the border with Lebanon.

Hezbollah is very active in Qara, and given its proximity to the Lebanese border, the area is used for smuggling fuel from Lebanon to Syria, the observatory added.

Israeli planes, which mounted the strikes, had flown over Lebanon and were heard in the capital Beirut, witnesses said.

Syrian state television, citing a military source, said late Thursday that the “Israeli enemy carried out an aggression on some points” in the countryside of Damascus and Homs in central Syria.

The broadcaster added that Syria’s army ground defences confronted the “enemy’s missiles and shot down most of them.”

The Israeli army declined to comment on the report.

Israeli strikes in Syria have been seen as an attempt to prevent Iran, one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s main allies, from building up its military influence in the region.

Hezbollah, which is financed and trained by Iran, has been fighting alongside al-Assad’s forces since an uprising started against his rule in March 2011.
The uprising soon evolved into a devastating war drawing in multitudes of foreign fighters and powers.

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