At least nine pro-regime fighters were killed during an Israeli airstrike on Syria overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported today.
Israel reportedly struck a Syrian military position near Nairab airport, on the outskirts of Aleppo, late on Sunday night. Syrian state news agency SANA quoted a Syrian military source as saying that “the Zionist enemy … targets one of our military sites north of Nairab airport, causing only material damage.” No casualties were initially reported.
However, today the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights contradicted initial reports, saying at least nine were killed during the airstrike. Head of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, issued a statement saying that six of those killed were of Syrian nationality. He was unable to specify the origin of the remaining three fighters.
Abdel Rahman explained that “Israeli missiles targeted an Iranian Revolutionary Guard center, near the Neirab military airport.” He added that the position was a logistics hub used to provide equipment and food to pro-regime forces fighting nearby, but did not store weapons, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
The Nairab base has previously been linked with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, which has been operating in the ongoing Syrian civil war, according to the Times of Israel. The same base was struck by Israel in April.
Israel has undertaken a number of airstrikes on positions inside Syria of late. Last week, Syria accused Israel of striking the T4 airbase near Homs, calling the move an act of “Israeli aggression” and claiming that Syrian air defences forced the Israeli planes to leave Syrian airspace. The attack was the third on the T4 base this year, with Israel’s previous strikes on the base killing at least four Iranian military advisors.
The airstrikes come amid increased tensions between Israel and Syrian regime forces in recent months as Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, has moved to regain the rebel-held territories of Quneitra and Daraa, in the south of the country. Both are situated inside or near to the demilitarised border zone which separates Syria from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. Earlier in July, Tel Aviv threatened to undertake pre-emptive strikes if the border zone was breached.
Israel has repeatedly intervened in the Syrian civil war, which has been ongoing since the Arab Spring uprising of 2011, despite its official position of non-engagement. Israel believes that Iranian-backed forces are being used to support the Assad regime, and has therefore engaged in a proxy war with its regional ally.