Unidentified aircraft target Iranian militias in east Syria - report

No details were available on the extent of damages or injuries.

An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli air force pilots  (photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
An Israeli Air Force F-35 fighter jet flies during an aerial demonstration at a graduation ceremony for Israeli air force pilots
(photo credit: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN)
Unidentified aircraft targeted Iranian militias near the Syrian-Iraqi border in the Deir Ezzor area of eastern Syria on Saturday, according to Deir Ezzor 24.
Two sites were targeted in villages outside the city of Al-Mayadeen, according to the STEP news agency. One belongs to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp, the other to the Shi'ite Fatemiyoun militia.
No details were available regarding the extent of the damage caused or what injuries were sustained.
Dozens of militants and Syrian regime forces defected, and Iranian militias were put on high alert after a series of airstrikes targeted their positions in sites near Al-Bukamal in the Deir Ezzor area of eastern Syria earlier this month.
Many non-Syrians have been killed in the earlier strikes, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
At least three members of a pro-Iranian militia were killed in alleged IAF strikes on the Tiyas Military Airbase, also known as the T-4 Airbase, in Syria’s Homs Province northeast of Damascus two weeks ago. SOHR reported that the strikes destroyed an ammunition depot as well as military vehicles and a building under construction at the base.
The alleged strikes marked the first time this year that IAF jets bombed military targets belonging to Iran west of Syria’s Deir Ezzor, coming several hours after two Syrian Air Force cargo flights from Tehran landed at the base.
Simultaneously, explosions were heard in the Deir Ezzor area near sites belonging to Syrian regime forces.
The strikes at T-4 came several hours after the Israeli army’s annual intel assessment was released, where it was noted that the targeted assassination of Iran’s Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani provides a significant opportunity to counter Tehran’s growing aggression in the region.
SOHR reported earlier this month that Iran-backed militias had reportedly evacuated their headquarters in Al-Bukamal and spread throughout orchards on the banks of the Euphrates River. The IRGC is reportedly seizing civilian houses in the Deir Ezzor area.
The land crossing between Iraq and Syria at Al-Bukamal that reopened in November was closed again earlier this month, according to Deir Ezzor 24. SOHR reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin told Syrian President Bashar Assad that the US intended to close the Tehran-Beirut road that passes through Al-Bukamal.
Over 20 Syrian fighters defected from an Iranian-backed militia in the area of Al-Mayadin due to fears of attacks by ISIS and the United States, according to the observatory. Dozens of the Syrian regime force members and a pro-regime militia in Deir Ezzor defected and moved to areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a largely Kurdish force, after repeated airstrikes on positions in Al-Bukamal carried out by the coalition and unidentified aircraft.
Militias along the Iraq-Syria border have been on high alert since the strike that killed former IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.
Multiple airstrikes have targeted Iranian forces and militias in eastern Syria in the past few months. A strategic border crossing between Iraq and Syria and the Iranian-controlled Imam Ali military base is located in the border town of Al-Bukamal.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.