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Iranian, Iraqi fighters reported killed in Israeli air strikes in Syria

Israeli air strikes (U.S. Air Force)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Israeli air strikes in eastern Syria have killed 14 Iranian and Iraqi fighters, a group monitoring the Syrian war says.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes in a desert region of Deir al-Zor Province late on May 4 targeted positions of Iranian and Iran-backed militias.

The watchdog said there were also wounded.

Syrian state media reported late on May 4 that Israeli missile strikes targeted a research center and military depots in the northern province of Aleppo.

They did not mention the attack on Deir el-Zor Province, which borders Iraq.

There was no immediate comment from Israel.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria in recent years targeting Iranian forces, Syrian government positions, and allied militias. It generally doesn’t comment on specific operations.

Western and Israeli intelligence say Iranian forces and allied militias use the eastern Syrian desert bordering Iraq to transfer fighters and advanced weapons systems to support the Syrian government and the Lebanese militant group Hizballah.

In Aleppo Province, Iranian forces and allied militia have given crucial support to Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad during the country’s nearly nine-year civil war.

Russia, a key backer of Damascus that has close security ties with Israel, has largely looked the other way as Israel carries out a shadow war with Iran in Syria to prevent its archenemy from entrenching itself in the country.