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Strikes said to target Iran-backed forces in eastern Syria

Unidentified aircraft reportedly hit base in the outskirts of al-Mayadin; residents say ambulances seen rushing to the scene

Illustrative: Explosions are seen in the Syrian town of Salamiyah on June 24 after an airstrike (video screenshot)
Illustrative: Explosions are seen in the Syrian town of Salamiyah on June 24 after an airstrike (video screenshot)

A base operated by Iran-backed militias in eastern Syria was struck overnight by an unidentified aircraft, Reuters reported on Monday citing military sources and residents of the area.

The airstrikes targeted an area south of the town of al-Mayadin, along the Euphrates River, according to the report.

Two residents told the news agency that Iranian-backed militia members patrolling the streets were put on heightened alert and ambulances were seen rushing to the desert outskirts of the city following the sound of explosions.

There were no immediate reports of injuries in the strikes, and Syrian state media did not report on the incident.

The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State terror group did not immediately comment on the alleged strike either. In the past, Operation Inherent Resolve has denied strikes in the area.

The Israel Defense Forces did not comment on the reported strikes, in accordance with its longstanding policy to neither confirm nor deny its activities in Syria.

Israel has launched hundreds of strikes in Syria since the start of the civil war in 2011. It has targeted government troops, allied Iranian forces and fighters from the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah.

Many of these strikes have allegedly targeted Iran-backed forces to the northwest of al-Mayadin in Deir Ezzor, and to the southeast in al-Bukamal, on the Syrian border with Iraq.

It rarely confirms details of its operations in Syria, but says Iran’s presence in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad and Hezbollah is a threat and that it will continue its strikes.

The al-Bukamal area of eastern Syria, near Iraq, is seen as critical to Tehran’s effort to establish a land corridor from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, and out to the Mediterranean Sea in order to more easily move weapons and fighters throughout the Middle East.

AFP contributed to this report.

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