Deadly strike hits pro-Iran militia convoy entering Syria from Iraq

Published: 10:16 PM, 9 Nov, 2022
Deadly strike hits pro-Iran militia convoy entering Syria from Iraq
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A strike on a pro-Iran militia convoy in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border killed at least 14 people overnight, a war monitor said Wednesday, without specifying who carried it out.

The attack hit a convoy of "fuel tankers and trucks loaded with weapons", in the Albu Kamal area, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

But an Iraqi border guard official said there were no casualties.

The US-led coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria said neither it nor any coalition countries carried out the raid.

A spokesman for the Israeli military told AFP: "We do not comment on foreign press reports."

The Iraqi border official said the trucks were transporting Lebanon-bound fuel from Iran via Iraq and Syria.

He said the convoy consisted of 22 tanker trucks, 10 of which were hit after entering Syrian territory through the Al-Qaim-Albu Kamal border crossing.

Four trucks were "completely burnt", he added, but said there were "no victims".

The Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a wide network of sources in Syria, said at least 14 people were killed in the strike. It said a nearby militia position was also hit.

Israel has reportedly carried out multiple strikes in Syria in recent months. They include one that killed five government troops in the capital Damascus, and two that caused significant damage to the airport in second city Aleppo.

It rarely comments on its military actions in the country.

But Israel has acknowledged carrying out hundreds of air and missile strikes in Syria since civil war broke out in the country in 2011, targeting both government positions and Iran-backed forces.

- 'Substantial reduction' of arms -

"Israel's focus is to deny Hezbollah and pro-Iranian groups from acquiring any weapons that would give them any advantage on the battlefield, or deny Israel air superiority or naval superiority," said analyst Riad Kahwaji, head of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis.

The military wing of Lebanese Shiite movement Hezbollah has been fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces since the early stages of the conflict.

Israel has said repeatedly it will not allow its archfoe Iran to gain a new foothold on its northern border.

Shiite militia groups close to Iran have a significant military presence across Syria.

Pro-Iran militias have a major presence around the Iraq-Syria border, and are heavily deployed south and west of the Euphrates in Syria's Deir Ezzor province.

In the Albu Kamal border area in September last year, attack drones operated by an unidentified military struck a convoy belonging to Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi, a former paramilitary force made up mainly of pro-Iran militias, killing at least three people.

Crisis-hit Lebanon has been grappling with multiple crises, including fuel shortages.

In September, dozens of trucks carrying Iranian fuel entered Lebanon via Syria, without state authorisation and despite US sanctions, following arrangements by Hezbollah.

Categories : World

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.