Two Hezbollah fighters said killed in alleged Israeli drone strike in Syria

One person, said to have close ties to Iran, killed by bomb placed in vehicle in Damascus suburb; no comment from IDF

A vehicle destroyed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria on May 25, 2024. (SANA)
A vehicle destroyed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria on May 25, 2024. (SANA)

An alleged Israeli drone strike in central Syria killed two fighters from Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group on Saturday, Lebanese media and a war monitor said.

The Beirut-based Al-Mayadeen TV didn’t say if there were casualties, but the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said two Hezbollah members were killed and several others wounded in the drone strike.

“An Israeli drone fired two missiles at a Hezbollah car and truck near the town of Qusayr in Homs province, as they were on their way to Al-Dabaa military airport, killing at least two Hezbollah fighters and wounding others,” said the Observatory.

It was the third strike against Hezbollah targets in Syria in about a week.

On Monday, Israeli strikes in the Qusayr area, which is close to the Lebanese border, killed eight pro-Iranian fighters, said the Observatory, a Britain-based monitor with a network of sources in Syria.

At least one Hezbollah fighter was among those killed, a source from Hezbollah told AFP at the time.

Another strike, on May 18, targeted “a Hezbollah commander and his companion,” the Observatory said. It did not report any casualties.

Separately on Saturday, A bomb attached to a car exploded early Saturday in the western part of the Syrian capital that is home to several diplomatic missions, killing one person and causing material damage, state media reported.

Security incidents, including blasts targeting military and civilian vehicles, occur intermittently in the capital of war-ravaged Syria.

Quoting a police official, SANA said “one person was killed when an explosive device exploded in their car in the Mazzeh district.”

The neighborhood houses the Iranian consulate, destroyed last month in a strike blamed on Israel. The attack at the time killed seven people including two Iranian generals and a member of Hezbollah, and triggered a direct Iranian military assault on Israel for the first time, sparking fears of a regionwide war.

Several airstrikes have hit the tightly-secured neighborhood over the past months, mostly targeting Iranian officials.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the man killed in the explosion was a Mazzeh resident who carried a card identifying him as a Syrian army officer. Abdurrahman said the dead man had close ties to the Iranians.

Last month, an explosive device went off in a car in Mazzeh, an upscale neighborhood of Damascus, without causing any casualties, SANA reported at the time.

Emergency services work at Iran’s consulate after it was hit by an alleged Israeli strike in Damascus, Syria, April 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Omar Sanadiki)

Tehran has been sending advisers to Syria since the country’s conflict, which later turned into civil war, began in March 2011 and has killed half a million people. Iran-backed fighters have helped tip the balance of power in favor of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

There was no comment from the IDF on either incident.

Israel rarely comments on individual strikes in Syria but has repeatedly said it will not allow its arch-enemy Iran to expand its presence there.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in its northern neighbor, mainly targeting army positions and Iran-backed fighters including from Hezbollah.

The strikes have increased since Israel’s war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip began on October 7, when the Iran-backed Palestinian terror group launched an unprecedented attack against Israel, killing some 1,200 people, most of them civilians and taking another 252 hostages.

Since October 8, Hezbollah-led forces have attacked Israeli communities and military posts along the border on a near-daily basis, with the group saying it is doing so to support Gaza amid the war there.

So far, the skirmishes on the border have resulted in 10 civilian deaths on the Israeli side, as well as the deaths of 14 IDF soldiers and reservists.

There have also been several attacks from Syria, without any injuries.

Hezbollah has named 313 members who have been killed by Israel during the ongoing skirmishes, mostly in Lebanon, but some also in Syria. In Lebanon, another 61 operatives from other terror groups, a Lebanese soldier, and dozens of civilians have been killed.

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