Sunday, January 17, 2021

Update / The toll of Israeli raids in eastern Syria rose to 40 dead: US intelligence provided information to Israel

Al-Ramsa (Agencies) 
A report published by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, this afternoon, Wednesday, said that the death toll from the Israeli strikes in Syria last night “rose to at least 40 dead and 37 wounded.

The dead were 9 Syrian army forces and 31 pro-Iranian militias of non-Syrian nationalities, who were all killed and wounded in the Israeli air strikes on sites, outposts, and ammunition depots and weapons for each of the Syrian army forces, Hezbollah, Iranian forces and militias loyal to it, headed by the "Fatemiyoun" Brigade, in The area extending from the city of Al-Zour to the Syrian-Iraqi border in the Albu Kamal desert.

The Observatory added that Israel targeted with more than 10 strikes Ayyash warehouses, Camp Al-Saeqah, 137th Brigade, the mountain overlooking the city of Deir Ezzor and other sites on the outskirts of the city, which resulted in the destruction of warehouses and sites, in addition to the killing of 16 people, 9 of the regime forces and the rest of the militias loyal to Iran from Non-Syrian nationalities ”.

Israel also targeted 6 strikes on sites and warehouses of ammunition and weapons in the Albu Kamal desert, which led to the killing of 11 militias loyal to Iran of non-Syrian nationalities, in addition to heavy material losses. Also, outposts, sites, and warehouses in the Al-Mayadeen desert were targeted with two strikes, which led to the killing of 13 militias loyal to Iran of non-Syrian nationalities as well.

The observatory described these Israeli raids as "the most intense of their kind on Syrian territory, while no response or attempt to confront the Israeli bombing was monitored by the regime's air defenses, and the city of Deir Ezzor, in which several areas and its outskirts were bombed, are under Russian control."

"These are the most violent strikes carried out by Israel on the Deir Ezzor governorate in nearly two years, and the death toll is the highest since June 2018," when Israeli raids killed 55 people, including 16 regime forces, director of the observatory Rami Abdel-Rahman told AFP.

The official Syrian News Agency "SANA" quoted a military source as saying that "at exactly one o'clock ten minutes (23.10 GMT) today, the Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression against the city of Deir Ezzor and Al-Bukamal area, and the results of the aggression are currently being verified." Any additional details.

There was no official comment from the Israeli side about the strikes.

It is difficult to ascertain the identity of the aircraft when the Syrian official media does not confirm it and Israel refuses to comment on it.

A senior American intelligence official with knowledge of the Israeli raid in Syria before dawn today, Wednesday, told the Associated Press that the air strikes were carried out based on intelligence information provided by the United States and targeted warehouses in Syria that were being used as part of the pipeline to store and supply Iranian weapons.

The official added that the depots served as a pipeline for components supporting Iran's nuclear program. The US official, who requested anonymity to talk about sensitive national security issues, confirmed that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the air raid with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen in Washington, on Monday.

For his part, the former head of the Israeli Military Intelligence Division and head of the National Security Research Institute at Tel Aviv University, Amos Yadlin, said, via Twitter, that “the attack in Syria tonight has special features: an attack in the depth and very long range in Dir Al-Zour and Al-Bukamal, a large number of targets, including targets in the urban space (sites inside cities), and many were killed.

According to Yadlin, “This is the fourth attack in less than a month. Israel is determined to continue to confront the military capabilities that Iran is building in the Syrian sphere and against the infrastructure for the transfer of weapons.

Yadlin added, “Apart from the achievements of thwarting Iranian infrastructure, Israel sends messages to three goals: To Iran, that 'we will not stop working in Syria during the era of (the administration of the new US President Joe) Biden.' To Syria, that 'there is a high price for the free hand that you give to the Iranians in Syria'; And to the new administration in the United States, that "besides the nuclear issue, there is another negative Iranian activity that needs to be addressed."

Yadlin asked, "Is there a relationship between the attack tonight and the (Israeli) state of alert in order to thwart the Iranian response to the recent attacks in it - (the bombing of the facility) Natanz, (the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen) Fakhrizadeh?"

Yadlin added, "In any case, following the important results of the attack tonight, the 'open account' of Iran against Israel has been inflated."

Al-Arabiya TV quoted an Israeli military source as saying today that "the Israeli forces are on the alert, and any operation by Hezbollah will be met by striking an entire bank of targets in Lebanon."

And the source added, "Israel has intensified and will continue to intensify the raids on Syria. The rate of raids is now 3 within 10 days, but previously it was one raid every 3 weeks," ruling out an Iranian response because Tehran has become weaker after the killing of the Quds Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, according to what He went.

In recent months, Israel has intensified its targeting of military and other sites for Iranian forces and groups loyal to it in several areas in Syria, coinciding with its affirmation of its intention to "strike at the Iranian position in Syria."

Israel rarely confirms the implementation of these strikes, but it will repeat that it will continue to oppose what it describes as Iran's attempts to consolidate its military presence in Syria.

In a rare report, the Israeli army said two weeks ago in its annual report that during the year 2020 it had bombed about 50 targets in Syria, without providing details of the targets that were bombed.

Israeli army spokesman Avichai Adrai said on November 18, the day after Israel announced that it had bombed “military targets of the Iranian Quds Force and the Syrian army” in southern Syria, “Tel Aviv will continue to move according to the need to strike the Iranian position in Syria, which poses a threat to regional stability.” .

Israel has repeatedly pledged to continue its operations in Syria until Iran withdraws from it. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his intention "absolutely to prevent Iran from establishing its military presence on our immediate borders."

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