Popular Mobilization Forces personnal stand by a burning truck after a drone attack, blamed on Israel, in western Iraq near the Syria border, August 25, 2019 (AP)
Multiple reports say Israel carried out another attack on Iranian-backed militia in eastern Syria on Thursday night, killing at least eight fighters.
The strike was in al-Bukamal in Deir ez-Zor Province near the Iraq border, an area periodically hit by Israel in recent months to disrupt the militia and destroy ammunition and supplies.
The pro-Assad Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen attributed the strike to Israel. Local sources said weapons depots and vehicles were targeted and the slain militia were foreign fighters.
The Israeli military followed their customary practice of making no comment. The Assad regime also did not mention the strikes.
Israel has regularly carried out hundreds of missile strikes inside Syria since the uprising of March 2011 against Assad regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah targets.
The attacks initially focused on Iranian transfers of weapons and missiles to Hezbollah and on the movement of Iranian and Hezbollah personnel to southwest Syria near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. They expanded across the country from 2017 as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded complete Iranian military withdrawal.
Since then, the Israeli forces have been focusing on Iranian bases and personnel, repeatedly hitting targets near Damascus and in central and northwest Syria. Those killed reportedly include Iranians directing drone attacks into Israel.
Since the summer, Israel’s strikes in Syria have been linked to missile attacks in Lebanon and Iraq on Hezbollah and Iranian-supported militia.
Thursday’s attacks come less than a week after the US assassinated Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who directed Iran’s support of the Assad regime, including the foreign militias.