Report: Israel attacked weapon depots belonging to Assad regime, militias

Syrian opposition media said the explosions were the result of an IDF air strike.

By YASSER OKBI/MAARIV, REUTERS
July 3, 2018 15:22
2 minute read.
Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk in al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya in Deraa province

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk in al-Ghariya al-Gharbiya in Deraa province, Syria in this handout released on June 30, 2018. (photo credit: SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

 
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Large explosions were heard in the Deraa district of south Syria on Tuesday in an area in which ammunition warehouses belonging to the Assad regime and pro-Assad militias are located, reported the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

According to Syrian opposition media reports, the explosions were the result of an IDF air strike.

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Israel beefed up its tank and artillery deployment on the Golan Heights frontier with Syria on Sunday, cautioning Damascus' forces to keep a distance as they sweep rebel-held areas over the border.

Backed by Russia, Syrian President Bashar Assad launched an offensive last month to regain the southwestern Deraa region, driving thousands of refugees toward neighboring Jordan and Israel.
Rebels surrender as the Syrian army advances, June 30, 2018 (Reuters)

Israel's military deployed tank and artillery reinforcements to the Golan on Sunday, a statement said, "in light of developments on the Syrian Golan Heights."

In its statement the military said Israel was holding to its non-intervention policy.

On Sunday, an opposition spokesman said talks had resumed between the Syrian opposition and Russian negotiators over a peace deal in a rebel held town in southwestern Syria after Jordanian mediation.

A team representing the Free Syrian Army's (FSA) rebels was now holding talks with Russian officers in the town of Busra al Sham, Ibrahim al Jabawi, the spokesman for the central operations room representing FSA negotiators told Reuters.

Talks failed on Saturday after a meeting in which Russian officers met the rebel team and demanded a complete surrender, rebels said.

Israel believes that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s Corps and Quds forces have continued to entrench themselves in Syria despite strikes against Iranian targets attributed to Israel.

Israeli intelligence estimates there are thousands of Iranian advisers and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps officers in Syria, some 9,000 Shi’ite militia fighters from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and another 7,000 Hezbollah fighters.

In May, a senior Israel Air Force officer said that Israel has maintained its freedom of action over Syria since direct military confrontation between Israel and Iranian forces in the country.

The IDF struck 50 Iranian targets on May 10 after 20 rockets were fired towards Israel’s front defensive line in the Golan Heights by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp’s Quds Force from Syrian territory.

“The Iranian resolve in the region continues and we keep operating and disrupting below the threshold of war,” said the senior officer.

Stressing that Israel will continue to carry out air strikes in the war-torn country, he said that Israel will continue to work with “determination” to thwart the entrenchment of Iran in Syria and the arming of Hezbollah.

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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