An Israeli strike on Iranian positions near Damascus, Syria, August 24, 2019
Three members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps have been killed in eastern Syria, in what appears to have been an airstrike.
The victims were travelling in a car in Deir ez-Zor Province on Saturday. Local sources said the vehicle was heavily damaged on the top, indicating an explosive device from above struck it.
Following usual practices, the Israel Defense Forces did not comment. However, Israel has escalated a campaign of missile strikes against Iranian, Hezbollah, and Assad regime targets this spring.
Iranian State media did not report Saturday’s incident.
The IDF has carried out at least seven strikes since mid-April. Two weeks ago, missiles damaged facilities, including weapons depots, near the Syrian Syrian Studies Research Center, vital in the regime’s development of chemical and conventional weapons.
Claims circulated last week that seven Iranian-supported foreign militia were killed and others wounded in an airstrike near al-Mayadeen in Deir ez-Zor near the Iraq border. A structure was destroyed inside the base.
Two large explosions were reported in Aleppo Province the same day, near a military school, but Syrian State media denied they were caused by an airstrike.
Israeli officials claimed two weeks ago that the strikes were forcing Iran to withdraw some of its forces and foreign militia: “Syria is paying a growing price for the Iranian presence in its territory, for a war that isn’t [Syria’s]. Iran has turned from an asset to Syria into a burden.”
The assertion followed the warnings of Defense Minister Naftali Bennett:
We have moved from blocking Iran’s entrenchment in Syria to forcing it out of there, and we will not stop….
We are determined, more determined [than Iran], and I can tell you why — for Iran, Syria is an adventure happening 1,000 kilometers away from home. For us, it’s our lives.
Israel has attacked Assad regime, Iranian, and Hezbollah targets throughout Syria’s nine-year conflict. The strikes initially focused on stopping the movement of weapons and preventing an Iranian or Hezbollah province near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.
However, since 2017 the missile attacks have expanded to support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand for Iran’s full military withdrawal from Syria.