East Syria air raids kill 12 pro-Iran fighters

BEIRUT (AFP) – At least 12 pro-Iranian fighters died in strikes by unidentified aircraft on eastern Syria late on Saturday, a war monitor said.

“Eight air strikes before midnight on Saturday night targetted a base of pro-Iranian forces in rural eastern Deir Ezzor (province), killing 12 Iraqi and Afghan fighters and destroying equipment and ammunition,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The Observatory did not identify the aircraft responsible, but its head Rami Abdul Rahman told AFP that Israel was likely responsible.

The Jewish state has carried out hundreds of strikes targetting regime and Iranian-backed forces, notably in Deir Ezzor.

The Israeli military rarely claims responsibility for such attacks but has vowed to prevent Iran gaining a foothold in the war-torn country or delivering advanced weaponry to Lebanese armed group Hezbollah.

Iranian and Iraqi armed groups backing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad have deployed across swathes of Deir Ezzor, a large desert province bordering on Iraq.