Pro-Iran militias warn of forceful response after Israeli strike on Palmyra in Syria


AMMAN (Reuters) – Iran-backed forces in Syria said on Thursday they would react with force to an Israeli strike on Syria’s Palmyra area in Homs province on Wednesday evening in the second such strike in a row week.

FILE PHOTO: A road sign indicating the direction to the Syrian city of Palmyra is pictured on the outskirts of the city, in this photo provided by SANA on March 2, 2017, Syria. SANA / Document via REUTERS

The Syrian Defense Ministry said in a statement that a soldier was killed in the attack which took place at 11:34 p.m. (20:34 GMT) and targeted a communications tower and caused material losses.

Israel has remained silent on the strikes that took place days after Damascus reported that its air defenses intercepted an Israeli missile attack over the Homs countryside, injuring six Syrian soldiers and causing property damage.

Israeli missiles flew over Jordanian airspace over US forces based in the Tanf region on the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to the statement from the Syrian Defense Ministry.

Israel has been carrying out attacks for several years on what it has described as Iran-related targets in Syria, where Tehran-backed forces, including Lebanese Hezbollah, have established a presence since their deployment to assist President Bashar al. -Assad in the Syrian conflict that erupted in 2011.

A statement from the so-called operations room of Assad’s allies supported by Iran said the response to the strike would be “very cruel”, adding that the casualties would have been much greater if his forces had not. been well distributed in the desert area.

“As a result of this attack, a number of martyrs and wounded of our Mujahedin brothers fell,” the statement said without further details.

“We have made the decision to respond to this attack to avenge the martyrs and the blood of the wounded and the response will be very cruel,” said the statement issued on pro-Iranian media outlets whose authenticity Reuters has verified.

A high-ranking military source who requested anonymity said the airstrikes hit, among other targets, the T4 air base where Iranian-backed militias have launched drone strikes in recent months against US bases in northern Syria.

The area of ​​Palmyra where the strikes were carried out is close to a large concentration of Russian bases and where its troops have carried out maneuvers with Syrian troops in recent days, according to military experts.

Israel wants Iranian and Iranian-backed forces to be kept away from its border and more broadly, completely withdrawn from Syria.

Reporting by Suleiman Khalidi; edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise


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