Syrian media have reported that Syrian Air Defense took part in an operation to stop Israeli aggression in the region on Friday, following reports of loud explosions near the city of Hama in northwestern Syria.
State media quoted military sources as saying that at 4 a.m. local time, Israel fired missiles at several targets in Hama from the Lebanese city of Tripoli. Syrian anti-missile air defence counterattacked all the projectiles before reaching the target.
Earlier this month, Israel has killed 57 supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s government in the worst airstrikes in eastern Syria in recent years.
According to the media reports, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that Israeli forces carried out 18 attacks in different places in the eastern region of Deir ez-Zor, which borders Iraq.
The group said 14 Syrian forces, 16 Iraqi militiamen and 11 Afghan members of the Iranian-backed Fatimid Brigade had been killed and 37 others wounded in Israeli operations.
The statement said paramilitary personnel from the Lebanese Hezbollah movement and the Fatimid Brigade were active in the region with Iranian-backed Afghan fighters.
According to the report, before the operation in Syria, the Fatimid Brigade had transferred Iranian-made weapons from neighbouring Iraq.
The human rights group said it had placed the weapons in the area where the attack took place, but the Israeli military did not issue a statement.
In June 2018, airstrikes in the same region killed 55 government fighters, including Iraqi fighters.
The attacks in Deir ez-Zor come hours after 12 Iranian-backed militants were killed in an attack near the Iraqi border.
The British government said in a statement that it had not immediately identified those responsible for the attack.
Syria’s state news agency also reported an attack on the Iraqi border, but details were limited.
The report said that “enemy Israel carried out airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor and Al-Bukmal region yesterday.”
“The consequences of the aggression are being confirmed,” he said.
Israel carried out the operation in Syria less than a week after the previous attacks.
Israel targeted several locations south of Damascus on January 7 and killed Iranian-backed militants.
It should be noted that Israeli operations in Syria could become part of the norm, targeting Iranian-backed militants in particular.
Israel says it has tried to prevent its rival from increasing its influence on the northern border.
Experts warn that Donald Trump and Israel could take drastic action against Iran and its allies in the region in the last days of the US presidency.
The Israeli military has released an annual report on operations in Syria, which states that 50 locations will be targeted in 2020.
Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, Israel has carried out hundreds of air and missile strikes, targeting Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah as well as Syrian government forces.
Israel seldom acknowledges responsibility for the attacks but takes responsibility when linking it to aggression within Israel.
The Syrian civil war has so far killed more than 380,000 people and left millions homeless in other operations, including crackdowns on anti-government protests.