BEIRUT: A war monitoring body has said that at least six pro-Iran fighters were killed on Monday. Israel conducted strikes in Syria (near the Lebanese border), in an area where Lebanon’s powerful Hezbol­lah group, holds sway.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said “Israeli strikes targeted two positions of pro-Iran groups in the Homs region” including “a Hezbollah site in the Qusayr area” (near the border), where “six Iran-backed fighters were killed”. The Observatory did not specify their nationalities.

A source from Hezbollah told journalists’ that ‘at least one fighter’ from the group was killed in the Israeli strikes, within the Qusayr area.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes conducted in Syria but has ‘repeatedly’ said it will ‘not allow’ its arch-enemy Iran, to expand its presence in the region.

On Saturday, the Observatory said an Israeli drone strike near the Lebanese border targeted a vehicle carrying “a Hez­bollah commander and his companion” (without reporting casualties).

Hez­bol­lah did not announce any deaths among its ranks, on Saturday.

On the 9 of May, Israeli strikes on Syria targeted facilities belonging to Iraq’s ‘Al-Nujaba’ armed movement, the Observatory and the pro-Iran group said. In addition to this, Damascus said an unidentified building was attacked.

The Israeli military has carried out ‘hundreds of strikes’ in Syria, since the outbreak of civil war in 2011. They have mainly targeted army positions and Iran-backed fighters (including from Lebanon’s Hezbollah group).

However, the frequency of the strikes has increased ever since Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip began, on the 7 of October.

The war in Syria has killed more than half a million

individuals and displaced millions, since it erupted in 2011 after Damascus cracked down on anti-government protests.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2024

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