Beirut, Jan 13 (efe-epa).- At least 57 fighters were killed after Israeli jets targeted posts of government troops and their Iranian allies in eastern Syria, in the deadliest strikes carried out by Israel in the war-torn country, a British-based war monitor reported on Wednesday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 26 of the victims died in Deir al-Zour town, while 15 and 16 militiamen were killed in the towns of al-Bukamal and al-Mayadin, respectively.
The Israeli raids earlier in the day shot at arms depots and military positions in eastern Syria belonging to the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement and Iran-backed militias.
A military official who wanted to remain anonymous, told Efe that this intensified attack, the fourth in less than three weeks and the second this year, the deadliest in the Syrian territory to date.
Syria’s state media confirmed the attack without reporting casualties.
“The Israeli enemy carried out an air aggression on Deir al-Zour city and al-Bukamal area in Deir Ezzor southeastern countryside,” the official Syrian news agency SANA said.
So far, there has been no official comment in Israel on reports of the strikes.
Israeli bombings in Syria have been seen as an attempt to prevent Iran, a main ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, from building up its military influence in the region.
On January 7, Israeli missile attacks against positions of the Syrian forces and their allied militia in the southern part of the country left three people killed and 11 others wounded.
Iranian troops and their allied militias from Lebanon have been fighting alongside al-Assad’s forces since a pro-democracy uprising broke out in Syria in 2011.
The Israeli authorities see the presence of Iran and Hezbollah in Syria as a threat to their security. EFE-EPA