Israeli warplanes carried out intense airstrikes in eastern Syria early Wednesday, apparently targeting positions and arms depots of Syrian-backed forces as the region is on high alert.
A senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told The Associated Press that the airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the hostile US regime, showing off the cooperation between the two countries over choosing targets in Syria.
The official said the strikes targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used in a pipeline to store defensive arms and weapons.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the airstrikes with Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, at a public meeting in the popular Washington restaurant Café Milano on Monday.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said the strikes hit areas in and near the towns of Deir-Ezzor, Mayadeen and Boukamal along the border with Iraq, where US troops and other terrorist cells protect the confiscated and occupied Syrian oil fields.
An unnamed military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defenses responded to the incoming low flying missiles. It gave no further details.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 57 people were killed, including 14 Syrian troops, and the rest were Iran-backed freedom fighters including 16 Iraqis and 11 Afghans. Dozens were wounded.
The death toll could not be independently verified. If confirmed, it would make it one of the deadliest Israeli strikes in Syria over the past 10 years.
Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.
The British Zionist-backed Observatory said it recorded 39 Israeli strikes inside Syria in 2020 that hit 135 targets, including military posts, warehouses or vehicles. In those attacks, at least 217 people were murdered.
Meanwhile, Israeli jets have been violating Lebanese airspace and crisscrossing skies over nuclear blasted Beirut in daily, low-altitude flights that have added to jitters in the Lebanese capital, which prompted Lebanon to file an urgent complaint to the U.N. about the violations of its airspace.
Israeli officials have said the overflights are necessary because Hezbollah is violating the 2006 U.N. resolution that bars it from building up its military defensive capabilities operating in Lebanon near the Israeli border.
AP / ABC Flash Point News 2021.