Israeli strike kills 36 Syrian soldiers near Aleppo: War monitor


BEIRUT: An Israeli air strike on Syria’s Aleppo province killed at least 36 Syrian soldiers on Friday, according to a war monitor, which added that Hezbollah weapons depots were located in the area.

The Israeli attack targeted an area “near rockets depots belonging to Lebanese group Hezbollah”, said the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has an extensive network of sources in Syria.

“At least 36 soldiers were killed and dozens wounded,” it said.

It also said that the targeted area is located near Aleppo’s international airport.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the pre-dawn strike killed and wounded civilians, as well as military personnel.

A Syrian military source told SANA that “at approximately 1:45 am, the Israeli enemy launched an air attack from the direction of Athriya, southeast of Aleppo”, adding that “civilians and military personnel” had been killed and wounded in the strike.

Contacted by AFP from Jerusalem, the Israeli military said it would “not comment on reports in the foreign media”.

Israel has launched hundreds of air strikes on targets in Syria since the civil war began there in 2011, as it seeks to cut off Hezbollah supply routes to Lebanon.

The frequency of these strikes has increased since Israel’s war with Hamas in Gaza began on October 7.

The war began with Hamas’s unprecedented attacks that resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

The militants also took about 250 hostages. Israel says about 130 captives remain in Gaza, including 34 presumed dead.

Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,552 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.

Fears of spillover

Israel has exchanged near-daily, cross-border fire with Hamas ally Hezbollah since the Gaza war began, sparking fears of a major regional conflagration.

At least 346 people have been killed in Lebanon — mostly Hezbollah fighters, but also including at least 68 civilians — in clashes with Israel over the last six months, according to an AFP tally.

The fighting has also displaced tens of thousands of people in southern Lebanon and in northern Israel, where the military says 10 soldiers and eight civilians have been killed.

While Iran-backed Hezbollah is Lebanese, it has sent militants into Syria to support its ally President Bashar al-Assad since an uprising against his rule erupted in 2011.

The uprising quickly morphed into a civil war drawing in regional and global players.

Hezbollah has continued to operate in the country since.

On Thursday, two people were injured in an air strike on a residential building in a Damascus suburb, according to Syrian state media, which blamed Israel.

The Sayyida Zeinab area targeted in the strikes is a stronghold of pro-Iran armed groups, including Hezbollah.


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