BEIRUT, Jan. 30 (AP) — Syrian opposition activists and a pro-government radio station said drones struck a convoy of trucks in eastern Syria shortly after entering the country from Iraq. There is no word yet on casualties.
Sunday’s strike comes amid rising tensions between Iran and its rivals in the region.
It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the convoy in the Boukamal region on the Syrian border, a stronghold of Iran-backed militias.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor based in Britain, said the drones appeared to come from a US-led coalition, adding that they targeted six refrigerated trucks. There were casualties and ambulances were called to the area, the group said.
Another activist said the attack hit a truck convoy of Iran-backed militias. Omar Abu Layla, a European activist from Deir el-Zour who runs a group monitoring developments, said on Twitter that there were no reports yet News of casualties.
The pro-government Sham FM radio station also reported that six refrigerated trucks had been hit.
In Baghdad, an official from an Iran-backed militia confirmed the strike, saying the attack targeted only one truck. He did not disclose the number of casualties.
Hours before the attack in eastern Syria, a bomb-carrying drone targeted an Iranian defense factory in the central city of Isfahan, causing some damage to it.
Last month, Israel’s military chief of staff strongly suggested that Israel was behind a November attack on a convoy of trucks in Syria, offering a rare glimpse into Israel’s shadow war against Iran and its proxies in the region.
Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, who completed his military service earlier this month, said Israel’s military and intelligence capabilities make it possible to strike specific targets that pose a threat.
Israeli leaders have admitted in the past to striking hundreds of targets in Syria and elsewhere in what they say is a campaign to thwart Iranian attempts to smuggle weapons to proxies such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group or destroy arsenals.
The November strike hit fuel tankers and other trucks carrying weapons for militias in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor province, the Observatory reported at the time. It said at least 14 people, mostly militiamen, were killed in the strike.
Syrian opposition activists said at the time that the attack took place on the Iraqi border and targeted Iran-backed militias. Some of those killed in the attack were Iranian nationals, according to two paramilitaries based in Iraq.
At the time, Israel declined to comment on the strike.
Iran is a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to aid Syrian forces during the country’s 11-year civil war. Both Iran and Assad’s government are allied to Hezbollah, which has fought alongside Assad’s forces in the war.
Israel considers Iran its main enemy and has warned against what it considers hostile activity in the region. (Associated Press)
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