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Deadly Airstrike Kills Tens of Militia Members and Destroys Iranian Weapons Warehouses in Syria

January 14, 2021
2 min read
Deadly Airstrike Kills Tens of Militia Members and Destroys Iranian Weapons Warehouses in Syria

On the night of January 12 to 13, Israeli aircraft bombed a series of key Iranian militia sites in eastern Syria in one of the most severe attacks of its kind since Iran-backed and Syrian regime forces first took control of the area.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 40 people were killed and 37 wounded in the overnight bombardment. They include nine members of Syrian regime forces, with the rest mostly thought to be members of the IRGC-controlled Fatemiyoun and Zeinebiyoun brigades.

Omar Al-Ahmad, an expert on Iranian militia movements in Syria, told IranWire: “Unidentified aircraft thought to belong to the coalition launched a series of raids targeting weapons warehouses in [the village of] Ayyash and the city of Al-Mayadeen, controlled by the Iranian militias."

The strikes occurred at around 2:30 am on January 13, he said, and ambulance sirens could also be heard across Deir Al-Zour Governorate. The bombing also targeted the Jabal al-Thardah area near Deir Al-Zour Military Airport, and the village of Al-Bughaliyah.

The aircraft continued to comb the desert towards Al-Mayadeen, targeting sites linked primarily to Iranian militia groups, and at least one convoy.

More than 15 air raids took place on the Albukamal desert region alone. The strikes appeared to tarket weapons depots belonging to Iran, the Syrian regime and Lebanese Hezbollah.

A US intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told Associated Press, on the condition of anonymity,  were carried out based on intelligence provided by the United States.

He added that the warehouses served as a pipeline for components that support the Iranian nuclear program. He also stated that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had discussed the airstrike with Yossi Cohen, Director of the Israeli intelligence service (Mossad), at Milan restaurant in Washington shortly before the attack took place.  

For its part, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said: "The Israeli aggression targeted areas in Deir Al-Zour and Albukamal." It further quoted a military source as saying: "In the early hours of the morning of January 13, the Israeli enemy launched an air attack on the city of Deir Al-Zour and the Albukamal area. The consequences of the attack are currently being verified."

In recent days Iranian militias have increased the level of transportation of weapons to Syria via Iraq. This has coincided with more reconnaissance aircraft flying over the region.

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