Israeli army admits to air strikes in Syria, Lebanon

Reports of Hezbollah taking over vacated Iranian sites.
Monday 08/06/2020
A file picture of Lebanese soldiers displaying an Israeli drone that was captured after falling in a southern Beirut suburb, last September. (AFP)
A file picture of Lebanese soldiers displaying an Israeli drone that was captured after falling in a southern Beirut suburb, last September. (AFP)

BEIRUT--In a rare move, the Israeli army acknowledged Sunday its responsibility for recent airstrikes in Syria and Lebanon.

Unclaimed rocket and drone attacks have targeted Iranian and pro-Iranian targets during the last few months in eastern Syria.

Israeli Air Force Commander Amiram Norkin said Sunday his country has escalated its air strikes in Syria and Lebanon.

“In the time of corona(virus), the Air Force operated in wider scopes compared to before the corona(virus),” said Major-General Norkin in a video conference with Israeli airline industry.

He identified Iran as the target of the strikes and said the purpose was ” to deter Iranian strategic capabilities in the region.”

Iranian positions in eastern Syria were hit with eight airstrikes by “unidentified drones” late Saturday, said Sunday the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).

“The drone attacks killed 12 Iranian-backed militiamen of Iraqi and Afghani nationalities, and caused vehicles and ammunition depots, ” said SOHR.

The Iranian-backed militias, added SOHR, had brought in military reinforcement to the targeted positions a few days ago. The observatory said 30 vehicles carrying military and logistical equipment as well as fighters arrived June 3 in the position held by Iranian-backed militia of “Fatimiyoun” in Al-Mayadeen city in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor from Al-Herri town on Iraq border.

Syria map

There have been speculation in recent months about Iran’s redeployment of its forces in Syria.But despite Israeli and US confirmations of some form of redeployment by Tehran, no clear picture has emerged of Iran’s troop movements.

Israeli media reported Sunday that experts believe Iran is redeploying some of its forces to Syrian barracks while Lebanese Hezbollah are taking over the vacated Iranian sites in a clear illustration of tight military coordination between Tehran and its Lebanese proxy.

Iran and Syria are said to have informed Israel via Russian of the redeployment.