Convoy of Iranian Forces Was Bombed Near U.S. Base in Syria, Report Says الهآررتس/إسرائيل تستهدف قافلة عسكرية إيرانية بالقرب من الحدود السورية ومقتل 8 إيرانيين وسوريين
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: Eight killed, including Iranian and Syrians, in air strike as Iranian foreign minister visits Damascus ahead of battle over Idlib
A convoy of Iranian forces was hit by air strikes near the U.S.’ Al-Tanf base in Syria, as reported on Monday by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors victims of the fighting. According to the report, an Iranian citizen, four Syrians and three non-Syrian combatants were killed in the attack.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the chairman of the Syrian organization, whose headquarters are in London, said that it was not known who was responsible for the attack. The AFT news agency turned to the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition asking whether it had bombed the convoy, but there was no response.
The site of the strike is located near Syria’s borders with Iraq and Jordan.
The report of the attack came at a time when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was visiting Damascus for talks with senior Syrian officials, in advance of the battle for Idlib in the northwest of the country, which is considered the last major rebel enclave. It was the second time in a week that a senior Iranian official visited Syria.
Iran’s defense minister arrived in Damascus last week and signed an agreement for defensive cooperative between the two countries. Tehran has provided Syrian President Bashar Assad with military support in recent years in his war against the rebel forces opposing his regime.
Sunday saw a report in Syria about an aerial strike near the Al Mezzeh military airport in Damascus, which was attributed to Israel. According to a source in the pro-Assad regional alliance, Syria’s aerial defense systems shot down the Israeli missiles. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that two military men were killed and another 11 were wounded.
On Friday Iranian President Hassan Rohani, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are scheduled to meet in Iran to discuss developments in Syria. “I believe that the meeting will be successful and beneficial for the region, the people of Syria and the struggle against terror,” said Bahram Qassemi, a spokesman for the Iranian Defense Ministry, to Iran’s Fars news agency.
Qassemi added that Idlib is one of the most complex issues on the agenda, and said that Damascus “is determined to put an end to this catastrophe. The Syrian government has a right to fight terror in the region. Iran, as a supporter of the government, is present and will continue with its assistance as long as the Syrian government is interested.”
Israel Strikes Iranian, Assad Regime Targets’ in Syria
Jack Khoury/Haaretz/September 04/18
Israeli jets attacked military targets in the northwestern Syrian city of Hama on Tuesday, Syrian state media reported, adding that one person was killed and 12 others were wounded.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, warplanes entered through Lebanese airspace and targeted Iranian positions. A military source told the SANA state news agency that Syrian air defenses intercepted several missiles over the nearby town of Wadi Al Uyun.
Civilians in the area reported hearing explosions and seeing smoke rise from nearby buildings. Additional strikes were reported in the coastal town of Baniyas, the site of research centers and military installations.
The Israeli military struck more than 200 targets and fired 800 missiles and mortar shells over the past year-and-a-half, a senior IDF official said Tuesday, adding that the IDF is working intensively to target Iranian weapons convoys and targets in Syria.
Last month, a senior Syrian chemical weapons development scientist was killed when his car exploded in the nearby city of Masyaf in northwestern Syria in an attack that Syrian media attributed to Israel’s Mossad espionage agency.
According to reports, Dr. Aziz Asber ran a scientific development center in the city, which was attacked several times before. The blast also killed his personal driver.
Several strikes near Masyaf have been attributed to Israel in recent years, the last of which was on July 22. Some of Iran’s military bases in Syria are next to Syrian military compounds, an intelligence source told Reuters.
Last year, it was reported that Israel attacked a target near Masyaf. The alleged Israeli strike took place exactly 10 years after Israel took out Bashar Assad’s nuclear reactor.
At the time, the Syrian army general command described the target as a military facility, and said a nearby site where short-range surface-to-surface missiles were stored was also hit. However, a war monitor said the center in Masyaf has been described by the U.S. as Syria’s chemical weapons manufacturer. Opposition forces also said the target was a weapons factory that develops arms for the Syrian regime and for Hezbollah.