Syria Daily: Did Israel Bomb Pro-Assad Forces in East?

Pro-Assad forces in Deir ez-Zor Province in eastsern Syria in autumn 2017 (EPA)

US officials have said that it was Israel who bombed pro-Assad forces in eastern Syria early Monday, reportedly killing at least 50 regime troops and Iranian-backed Iraqi militia.

If true, the operations would be the first by the Israelis in the area along the Iraq border in the 87-month Syrian conflict.

The Assad military initially blamed the US-led coalition for the strike near al-Bukamal on the border. The US Central Command denied any responsibility. Iraqi officials said they had no involvement, expressing “rejection and condemnation” of the bombing.

Later on Monday unnamed US officials told both CNN and AFP, “We have reasons to believe that it was an Israeli strike.”

The officials did not say whether the Pentagon had provided the Israelis with the coordinates of the pro-Assad positions.

The Israel Defense Forces have periodically struck pro-Assad targets throughout the conflict. Initially the attacks concentrated on preventing delivery of weapons and missiles to Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an ally propping up the regime, but they have expanded this year to aim at Iranian as well as other pro-Assad personnel and operations. The Israelis carried out their most widespread raids in mid-April, hitting regime and Iranian positions in central Syria as well as the southwest, near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

An extension into eastern Syria would also widen Israel’s aim. Tel Aviv has always maintained the need to keep Hezbollah and Iranian forces away from the Golan. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pressing publicly for the withdrawal of all Iranian and Iranian-led foreign personnel from the country.

Netanyahu repeated on Sunday, after a Cabinet meeting, “[We are] taking action against efforts to establish a military presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria, both close to the border and deep inside Syria. We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”

In line with standard practice, the IDF and the Netanyahu Government refused to comment on Monday’s attacks. Iranian State outlets are posting the reports from international media of the US statements.

Pro-Assad outlets said most of the casualties were regime troops. However, unconfirmed claims from the area said more than half were Iraqi militia under Iranian command. The Iran-back Hashed al-Shaabi militia gave weight to those claims, saying, “US planes fired two guided missiles at a fixed position…on the border with Syria, killing 22 fighters and wounding 12”.

Since 2012, Iran has been responsible for much of the pro-Assad armed forces on the ground, organizing a 50,000-strong National Defense Force and bringing in thousands of Iraqi, Afghan, and Pakistani fighters as well as coordinating with Hezbollah.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

63 COMMENTS

  1. Apparently no russian CAS untill now for upcoming Daraa battle. If there will not be any, it means Israel
    scored a point. And if really there will be no russian CAS good luck to the SAA….they gonna need it in massive amounts.

      • Well it depends. If russians give CAS sooner or later Daraa will fall. If there is no CAS then it will be a real hard battle probably one of the biggest so far in the conflict. Regime is bringing tons of armour and artillery, on the other side Bunyan al-Marsous Operation Room is one of the most organized rebel groups. Regime knows it, thats why its bringing everything its got. Very interesting battle ahead with the big question mark about what israel and the US will do. Since both said they would not accept an operation on Deraa, iranians or not.

          • I would personally still wait a bit before calling russian CAS off. Even if it was SAA only they still got the advantage of having endless supplies. Rebels there are very well prepared. Some interesting battles ahead.

            • The SAA also have massive manpower. With the rest of Syria under control, this has freed up tens of thousands of troops, over 100 tanks and large numbers of artillery units.

              The SAA will take care of this is short time with or without Russian CAS.

              • The last time you made such statements it ended up the opposite way and you vanished from here for 2 months. There is hope it will go the same way, so we breathe a bit less bs my dear comical ali.

              • The last time you made such statements it ended up the opposite way and you vanished from here for 2 months.

                I seem to recall that Aleppo ended up in the hands of the Assad government. I don’t recall predicting the opposite. 🙂

            • Not sure the supplies are endless, everything has a cost. Assad cant ruin what remains of his army, he’ll need something afterwards. Everyone is thinking about end game at this point, I believe.

              • Compared to rebel groups his supplies are indeed endless, especially given that the UAE have cut funding to the jihadists and that Assad has them surrounded in Daraa.

                As for his army, it is becoming stronger by the day. The military now has 7 years of fighting experience under it’s belt. With the liberation of each town and village, their ranks swell with fresh volunteers.

              • Matt that the war is very far from over that is a fact. Assad controls less than 50% of the country and most of its resources are in US hands. Any next move is either Idlib (cant be touch for now) or US controlled territory, which every time there is a move on it they bag 50 KIA or 200 depending on the effort 🙂

              • Wrong Matt,

                The was is winding down.Once the SAA liberate Daraa, there will be no rebel held territory left. Assad controls over 60% of the country and 90% of the populated areas.

                Idlib will be taken back after that and the US will be told to leave the territory East of the Euphrates.
                Better get used to it. 🙂

              • Yes maybe thats the story that goes around inside your mental institution. Comical Ali at its best today. Keep us laughing Andre !!

              • Yes maybe thats the story that goes around inside your mental institution.

                Funny. I never considered the DOD, Centcom and NATO to be mental institutions, but you may be onto something. 🙂

    • you are not trying hard enough today. This is one of the weakest propaganda pieces you have, unfortunately, shared with the world. At this point, if your posts don’t involve sharks with lasers, I just cant take you seriously anymore

      • This is one of the weakest propaganda pieces you have, unfortunately, shared with the world.

        It’s far more plausible than your absurd theory that Israel carried out the attack to help Russia. The fact that the US controls the airspace in that region is beyond dispute. Thus it is beyond dispute that if Israel did carry out the attack, it did so with US approval or complicity.

        • “The fact that the US controls the airspace in that region is beyond dispute. Thus it is beyond dispute that if Israel did carry out the attack, it did so with US approval or complicity.”

          Sure, why would the US object to Israel bombing the shit out of Iranians on behalf of Russia? Keep playing, don’t forget to put a quarter in the machine for more time

            • I did in the first post on this topic. Since you have the memory of a goldfish, I thought I would remind you. Which is why you were responding to what I wrote. By the way, what type of plantation? A banana one, sugar, ?

      • Take him seriously? he is the laughing stock of this board from 2011. Not even his dogs take him seriously.

  2. will be a good test for the SAA. And the rebels

    Not so much a test as an inevitable outcome. Unless Israel and the US intervene in a big way, Daraa will be liberated. it looks like ISIS, in coordination with the US of course, is gearing up for another assault in Deir Ezzor to try and distract the SAA from the Darra operation.

    • Liberated? By a foreign controlled mass murdering dictator? ROTFLMAO. Assad has never liberated shit in his entire genocidal life.

  3. Andre – article in WSJ for you to read. This is exactly what you do. Sowing cynicism about our institutions using hot-button issues.

    Russian trolls farms, employed by the Kremlin are generally acting as regressive leftists in order to sow confusion and division in social media, induce cynicism against our institutions and government, and hitting on a variety of hot-button issues. It appears Twitter and maybe Facebook actually encourages such anti-West trolling by not identifying the Russian troll farm accounts. It appears SJWs and Islamists have become useful tools for the Russian anti-West oligarchy.

    Also race baiting and possibly gender baiting seems to be a favorite of the Russian troll farms.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/russian-trolls-weigh-in-on-roseanne-barr-and-donald-trump-jr-1529425771

    • Sowing cynicism about our institutions using hot-button issues.

      It boggles the mind when I hear Americans pushing these crack pot conspiracy theories. Cynicism is and scepticism are evidence of a healthy and informed society. Evidently this worries you. Right wingers seem to spend most of their time referring to government in pejorative terms, but when it comes to war and militarism, insist that the government is all knowing and infinitely moral. Left wingers were insisting that it would be impossible to for the elections to be rigged until Trump won. Now they insist the elections were hacked as nothing else could explain Trump’s victory.

      For your theory to be true, one would have to believe that Americans are ignorant, gullible, , uneducated lemmings who are easily manipulated and incapable of independent and critical thought. Cynicism toward government institutions exists throughout the world because they are dysfunctional, self serving and corrupt. One just needs to look at the DOD, which cannot account for 21 trillion – that’s equal to the entire GOP of the US.

      The fact that your country elected a game show host who does not even try to hide his corruption is further evidence of that.

      The US public doesn’t need Russian trolls farms to sow confusion and division in social media, induce cynicism against institutions and government. Twitter and Facebook are American products.

      You seem to have missed the fact that hot button issues are named as such because they are emotionally charged and controversial issue issues that triggers immediate intense reactions. They hardly need Russian trolls to breath life into them.

      • Read the Wall Street Journal article Andre that I linked. And stop defending the Russian troll farms. The article comes from the US Senate Intelligence Committee. So you want us to listen to you instead of them? Get serious.

        • What can you expect from a person who lies just 10 messages before this. Saying he first participated in here in 2015 and getting exposed 3 seconds later by EA archive showing him in here well before 2013. A pathological lier. I even start to doubt he is who he says. Probably fake identity case. Troll 120%.

        • I did read the WSJ article Kazemi. Biggest load of garbage I have read in quite a while. Another hillarious BS puff piece that ascribes near superhuman power of persuasion to troll farms.

          If any of this was to be believed, they would have convinced every American to send all their money to Russian bank accounts.

      • Trump is gone in about a year. But how long has your Putin stayed in power? 20 years? And another 20 years to come? Your country couldn’t even land anything on the moon – so stop telling us that the moon is made of cheese.

        • I wish you were right, but it looks like Trump will win a second term in 2020 the way the Democrats are self destructing and selling out.

          Your country couldn’t even land anything on the moon – so stop telling us that the moon is made of cheese.

          While your country landed on the moon and 30% of you believe the Earth is flat and 10% believe the landing was fake – so stop telling us is achieved anything.

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