Israeli warplanes carried out a series of intense air strikes near the Syrian towns of Deir ez-Zor, Mayadeen and Boukamal along the border with Iraq on Wednesday, amid heightened tension in the region, driven by fears of retaliation for the US killing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani last year in Baghdad.
A US intelligence official has claimed that the United States and Israel coordinated the intense airstrikes that targeted eastern Syria early Wednesday.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said the strikes hit areas in and near the towns of Deir ez-Zour, Mayadeen and Boukamal along the border with Iraq. The anonymous source is cited by AP as saying the air attacks were carried out by Israeli warplanes with intelligence supplied by the United States.
The source added that the Israeli air attack on the territory of the sovereign state came in the wake of a reported meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Director of the Israeli Mossad, Yossi Cohen, at a restaurant in Washington a week earlier.
News outlets in Syria reported that there were casualties in the strikes, with official sources in Syria not commenting on the aftermath of the attack, which, according to the AP-quoted source, targeted warehouses being used to store Iranian weapons and support Tehran’s nuclear programme. At the same time, Tehran denies having troops deployed in the Arab Republic, apart from military advisers.
An unnamed military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defences responded to the incoming missiles.
The reported airstrikes by Israel against ostensibly Iranian targets in Syria came just hours after Defence Minister Benny Gantz paid a visit to the Syrian border. Gantz had vowed that Israel would continue to target its enemies “near and far”, according to The Times of Israel.
The Syrian Army air defences have repeatedly confronted Israeli air strikes against ostensibly Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years, with the IDF rarely acknowledging such operations.