Airstrikes target pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria - report

A number of casualties among pro-Iranian militias were reported by local media outlets.

 Smoke rises after airstrikes on a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria, June 15, 2017 (illustrative). (photo credit: REUTERS/ALAA AL-FAQIR)
Smoke rises after airstrikes on a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, Syria, June 15, 2017 (illustrative).
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALAA AL-FAQIR)

Airstrikes by unidentified aircraft targeted sites in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria on Saturday, according to Syrian state news agency SANA. The airstrike resulted in casualties among pro-Iranian militias in the area, according to local reports.

Local media outlets Sada Al-Sharqieh and Deir Ezzor 24 reported that the airstrikes were carried out by the US-led international coalition and targeted sites belonging to pro-Iranian militias on the Hawijah Kate island of the city of Deir Ezzor. A dirt bridge that crosses the Euphrates River is located in the area and is reportedly used by Iran for smuggling.

The North Press Agency reported based on a military source from a pro-Assad militia that at least eight pro-Iranian militants were killed and more than ten others were wounded in the strikes. A civilian activist told the agency that pro-Iranian militias in the area evacuated their headquarters and removed flags and slogans from sites under their control.

Local media reported that pro-Iranian forces responded to the strikes by firing rockets and mortars toward areas controlled by the international coalition and the coalition-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militia.

Syrian and Iranian media did not report any casualties or damages in the incident.

 Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria, in this handout released by SANA on March 23, 2022.  (credit: SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS) Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian meets with Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus, Syria, in this handout released by SANA on March 23, 2022. (credit: SANA/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

The strikes come about a week after local media outlets reported an airstrike on an Iranian military convoy near al-Mayadin in the Deir Ezzor region.

The North Press Agency reported at the time that one pro-Iranian militant was killed and two others were wounded in the strikes. A source from a pro-Iranian militia told the agency that unidentified aircraft targeted a site and a vehicle belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), killing an officer in the car.

The agency reported that four strikes were carried out by the aircraft in the area, with the source telling the agency that the strikes seemed to be targeting a convoy carrying an IRGC official.

Deir Ezzor 24 reported at the time that the airstrikes were believed to have been carried out by Israel and targeted the IRGC near al-Mayadin. Sada Al Sharqieh reported that an IRGC leader named Hajj Jalil al-Irani was killed in the strikes.

Syrian and Iranian media did not publish reports about the alleged strikes.

In March, two IRGC officers were killed by an alleged Israeli airstrike in Damascus, with the IRGC warning that “the Zionist regime will undoubtedly pay the price for such a crime.”

On April 27, an alleged Israeli airstrike targeted sites near Damascus, killing at least four Syrian soldiers.