Air strikes hit positions of pro-Iranian forces and allied militias in eastern Syria overnight, killing 18 fighters, a war monitor said Monday. By bombing Abu Kamal, Israel strikes Iranian assets half the distance to Iran.
The monitor said that “18 fighters were killed, but their nationalities have not yet been determined”.
According to eyewitnesses, panic and chaos among the pro-Iranian militias followed the attack. They raided the Abu Kamal hospital for blood.
A distant video surfaced showing the strikes.
— Omar Abu Layla (@AliAlleile) September 8, 2019
Albu Kamal lies in Deir Ezzor province which covers much of Syria’s remote eastern desert, where the Islamic State group’s so-called “caliphate” made its last stand this year. Iran has filled the vacuum left by the defeat of ISIS.
Control of the area is split between US-backed Kurdish fighters and groups aligned with the Damascus regime, which is supported by Iran and Russia.
In June 2018, strikes near the Iraqi border killed 55 pro-regime forces, mostly Syrians and Iraqis.
ISRAELI RED LINE
Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria targeting what it says are positions of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah and Iranian forces, which it has vowed to prevent gaining a foothold on Syrian territory.
Iran, its allied militias and Russia have backed Assad by devastating the country over eight-years of civil war.
Pro-regime forces in Deir Ezzor are operating with the backing of various foreign armed groups including Iraqis and Iranians.
The Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces control a swathe of territory further north in the province. The Kurds seized the territory from the Islamic State group during a long campaign the U.S. backed logistically.
The Syrian conflict, which broke out in 2011 with the bloody repression of anti-regime demonstrations, has become a complex war. It has dragged regional and international powers into the conflict.
The Assad war against his people has killed over 600,000 and counting.
AFP contributed to this article.