23 Iran-Backed Fighters Killed in Alleged Israeli Airstrike

“As eagles grow new plumes: They shall run and not grow weary” Isaiah 40:31 (The Israel Bible™)

Syria accused Israel of carrying out several airstrikes on Thursday night near Damascus that killed a total of 23 Syrian and Iranian-backed fighters.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that one strike near Kisweh south of the capital Damascus killed three Iranians and seven Iran-backed foreign fighters. In other strikes near Mezzeh and Jisr Baghdad, west of the capital, the SOHR reported eight Syrian air defense forces were killed near Damascus.  In the Ezra area in the southern province of Daraa, five Syrian members of a pro-Iran group were killed.

SANA, the Syrian state news agency, cited an army source as saying that their air defenses acted to repel two waves of attacks at around 1:00 AM that focused on targets near Damascus, Dara, and Quneitra. The alleged attack was carried out from outside Syrian airspace by warplanes overflying Lebanon. The Syrian military claimed its air defenses intercepted the missiles fired at its military.

The Russian Defense Ministry in Moscow claimed that Syrian air-defenses nearly shot down a civilian airliner during the alleged Israeli airstrike.  The Russian government claimed that Israeli Air Forse F-16’s fired eight air-to-ground missiles without entering Syrian airspace. The Syrian Cham Wings airline Airbus A320 with 172 passengers on board was preparing to land at Damascus Airport when it was forced to make an emergency landing at the Russian airbase in Khmeimim.

The Israeli government does not, as a rule, comment on military activity outside of Israel, though, in the past, they have admitted to carrying out airstrikes in Syria for the purpose of preventing Iran from gaining military dominance in the region.

Supported by Russia and Irna, the regime forces of Bashar al-Assad have been pushing in recent weeks to capture opposition-held territory in northwest Syria, closing in on the stronghold in Idlib. More than half a million civilians, the vast majority of them women and children, have been displaced by the fighting, according to the United Nations.

In September 2018, Syrian air defenses shot down an Il-20 turbo-prop plane used for electronic reconnaissance belonging to the Russian military, killing all 15 servicemen aboard. The mishap occurred off the coast of Syria during an Israeli and French air-attack being staged in the same area. Russia blamed Israel for the incident.