Report: Israel strikes Hezbollah positions in Syria, killing 13

According to unconfirmed reports, eight fighters, five Syrian soldiers die in four IAF raids Monday; ‘dozens’ said injured

An Israeli F-16 during an exercise on November 25, 2013. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)
An Israeli F-16 during an exercise on November 25, 2013. (Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Unconfirmed Syrian media reports said Tuesday that Israel carried out some four airstrikes on Syrian regime and Hezbollah positions in the area of Syria’s Qalamoun mountains on Monday night.

A report by Al-Souria Net, a pro-opposition outlet, said eight Hezbollah fighters and five Syrian soldiers were killed in the raids, which hit the border region between Lebanon and Syria.

“After several hours of reconnaissance flights above the area, Israeli planes suddenly launched two raids on a joint Assad forces and Hezbollah position,” Al-Souria Net reported. “This was immediately followed by a third raid.. The Israeli planes resumed their attack with a fourth air raid after several minutes, targeting a Hezbollah position in western Qalamoun.”

The report said there were “dozens” injured in the airstrikes, four of them critically. The wounded were transferred to local hospitals for treatment.

Israel is reported to have been behind a series of air raids on Syrian soil since the Syrian civil war began in March 2011, apparently aimed at preventing advanced weapons shipments from Iran from reaching arch-enemy Hezbollah via Syria.

Jerusalem has not openly admitted to being behind such operations. It has, however, warned that it will not permit the Lebanon-based terror group to obtain what it calls “game-changing” advanced weaponry.

On November 11, an alleged Israeli raid was reported near the airport in the Syrian capital Damascus, according to Israel’s Channel 2 television, which cited Syrian media reports. The reports were unconfirmed but according to Syrian opposition groups, the target was a weapons shipments likely intended for Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, Israel’s Channel 10 said.

In April, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also declared that Israel would not let Iran equip Hezbollah with advanced weapons — without discussing an alleged airstrike that reportedly hit surface-to-surface missile depot the day before. Hezbollah has a strong military presence in Lebanon as well as in Syria, the two countries lying on Israel’s northern borders.

In September, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a staunch ally of Assad, in an effort to avoid military confrontations in the country.

Netanyahu said that he told Putin in “no uncertain terms” that Israel would not tolerate Tehran’s efforts to arm Israel’s enemies in the region, and that Jerusalem has taken and will continue to take action against any such attempts.

“This is our right and also our duty,” he said. “There were no objections to our rights and to what I said. On the contrary: there was readiness to make sure that whatever Russia’s intentions for Syria, Russia will not be a partner in extreme actions by Iran against us.”

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