Photo: IDF

5 pro-Iranian fighters in Syria die in alleged IDF strike

5 pro-Iran fighters were killed by unidentified missiles Wednesday evening in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Az Zor, according to reports from a war monitoring organization.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), “Missiles of unidentified origin targeted the headquarters of the 47th Brigade of pro-Iranian militias in the town of al-Bukamal.” SOHR chief Rami Abdul Rahman added that drones may have been responsible for the raids, which he said caused “loud explosions.”

The vast desert province of Deir Az Zor neighbors Iraq, and serves as a base for several combatants in the Syrian civil war alongside loyalist forces to the regime of embattled President Bashar al-Assad. Iran is staunchly allied with the Assad regime’s efforts to crush the eight-year conflict, including the commitment of troops from Tehran’s elite Islamic Republican Guards Corps in addition to those belonging to its proxies such as the Lebanon-based Hezbollah and militias from Iraq and elsewhere.

According to the report, a nearby military site being operated by Hezbollah was also targeted.

The area has allegedly come under repeated attack over the past several months by Israel, which has vowed to prevent a permanent entrenchment of Iranian forces just over the Jewish State’s northern frontier. Toward the achievement of that objective, Jerusalem is believed to have ordered hundreds of strikes in recent years.

The latest incident occurred just two days after 3 other foreign nationals also believed to be Iranians were killed in a pre-dawn missile attack near Damascus widely believed to have carried out by the IDF. A senior Iranian official later vowed that Israel “will regret” its alleged missile strikes against Iranian assets in the region.

According to the SOHR, five pro-Iranian fighters were killed in similar raids on the outskirts of al-Bukamal on December 8. Hezbollah cited “a security source in Syria” claiming that Israel conducted other raids in September that killed twenty-eight pro-Iranian fighters, including at least 10 Iraqis. 55 pro-regime forces were killed in June 2018 attacks in far eastern Syria that were also attributed to Israel by a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity.