Airstrikes on Iran militias in eastern Syria blamed on Israel

Arabic-language media reported that 25 Iran-backed militants were killed and 10 others were wounded.

Illustrative image of an airstrike. (photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
Illustrative image of an airstrike.
(photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)

Unidentified aircraft targeted sites belonging to Iranian militias along the border between Iraq and Syria on Tuesday night, according to Syrian, Iraqi and pro-Iran media, with Iran-backed militias placing the blame on Israel.

The strikes were first reported by the Iraqi Sabareen news channel which is affiliated with militias backed by Iran. The channel initially blamed the US for carrying out the strikes near the Al-Qaim border crossing and claimed that 25 people were killed, although no official source has confirmed this report.

Sabareen and additional news sites reported that fuel tankers carrying Iranian gasoline for Lebanon were hit.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Al-Mayadeen news blamed Israel for the airstrikes, adding that two oil tankers were hit in the strike, but denying that any casualties were reported.

The local Deir Ezzor 24 news site reported that unidentified aircraft targeted a site belonging to Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces near Al-Bukamal in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria, injuring two members of the militia and causing severe material damage.

A motorbike burns after an airstrike in this screen grab taken from a social media video said to be taken in Idlib, Syria on July 16, 2019 (credit: WHITE HELMETS/SOCIAL MEDIA VIA REUTERS)A motorbike burns after an airstrike in this screen grab taken from a social media video said to be taken in Idlib, Syria on July 16, 2019 (credit: WHITE HELMETS/SOCIAL MEDIA VIA REUTERS)

Jabbar al-Maamouri, a leader in the pro-Iran Iraqi Coordination Framework, told the news outlet Baghdad Today that Israeli drones targeted an Iranian fuel shipment headed towards Lebanon. According to Maamouri, the strikes caused casualties and material damage. 

People familiar with the attack told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the airstrikes targeted vehicles suspected of smuggling Iranian weapons, destroying several vehicles and killing at least 10 people.

The vehicles are believed to have been transporting munitions and missiles, alongside oil, according to the report.

US response to the allegations

BBC reporter Nafiseh Kohnavard reported that a senior US official had confirmed that airstrikes were conducted by an unidentified party in the area and not by the US.