Middle East

Iran threatens ‘harsh response’ after alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria

 

Iranian militias warned of a “harsh response” after several Syrian and Iranian-backed forces were killed and wounded in an alleged Israeli airstrike near Palmyra in central Syria on Wednesday night, the second such airstrike in the past week.

The Syrian state news agency SANA reported that an Israeli airstrike targeted a communications tower and several nearby sites, killing one Syrian soldier and wounding three others. The strike was carried out from the direction of the al-Tanf area near the Jordanian and Iraqi borders with Syria, a Syrian military source told SANA.

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Around the time of the airstrike, the airspace above the Golan Heights was closed to flights until Friday at 12:15 a.m.

Israeli airstrike in Syria

On Thursday morning, a joint operations room affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, Hezbollah, and the Assad regime warned that it has decided to respond harshly to the airstrikes after several operatives were killed and wounded in them, according to Hezbollah-affiliated media. It is unclear if the statement was referring to casualties other than those reported by SANA.

The joint operations room stressed that its mission in Syria is only to help the Syrian state to confront “terrorists” and ISIS.

“For years, we have been subjected to attacks from the Israeli and American enemy in an attempt to drag us into side battles that were not a priority for our presence in Syria, and the Zionists’ excuse was that they were targeting accurate weapons and sensitive equipment that posed a threat to their usurping entity,” added the joint statement.

Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem condemned the alleged Israeli airstrikes on Thursday morning as well, calling them “blatant aggression and outrageous thuggery.”

Qassem stressed that Israel could only be deterred by confronting it, responding to its attacks, making it “pay the price” for its actions, and not allowing it to impose the rules of engagement.

The airstrike comes just a week after an alleged Israeli airstrike on the T-4 airport, also near Palmyra, wounded six Syrian soldiers, according to SANA.

Satellite imagery from Sentinel Hub shared on social media showed damage on the runway at T-4 after the airstrike.

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Before last week’s airstrike, the last one blamed on Israel in Syria took place in August, targeting the Qalamoun Mountains near the capital Damascus. Four Syrian civilians were reportedly killed when Syrian air defense missiles fell in a residential area in the town of Qara.

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