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Israel hits Iranian targets in Syria

Israeli forces reportedly bombed Iranian military targets in southern Syria yesterday.

Syrian state-run news agency SANA reported that: “The Israeli enemy launched an aggression after midnight against the Tall al-Hara area,” citing only material damage from the strikes. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported additional strikes nearby in Tal Ahmar and Naba Sakher that caused fatalities.

The strikes were believed to have been on military outposts formerly held by Russian forces but were later taken over by Iranian-backed militias. According to a report in Israel’s Ynet: “Tall al-Hara is a strategically located area in southern Deraa province overlooking the Israeli-held Golan Heights. It was for many years a major Russian military radar outpost until rebels took it over in 2014 before it was again recaptured by the Syrian army last year. The zone has been a target of Israeli raids against Tehran-backed militias which have become entrenched in southern Syria and the Golan Heights near the border with Israel.”

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria during the civil war that have targeted Iranian and Hezbollah military positions, weapons convoys and storage facilities.

Yesterday Israel’s Ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, presented the UN Security Council (UNSC) with new intelligence proving that Iran, with the help of Syrian officials, is supplying weapons and dual-use equipment to Hezbollah through “civilian channels” and with the knowledge of the Lebanese Government.

He said: “In the years 2018 and 2019, Israel found that Iran and the [Revolutionary Guards] Quds Force have begun to advance the exploitation of the civilian maritime channels, and specifically the Port of Beirut … which has become the Port of Hezbollah. These dual-use items are smuggled into Lebanon to advance Hezbollah’s rocket and missile capabilities and conversion program to be used. Under the guise of Syrian entities, such as the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center.”

It is “harder and harder to tell where Beirut ends and Tehran begins,” he added.

Danon showed the UNSC a map of the smuggling routes and called on the Security Council to take action, citing UN Resolution 1701 that only allows the sale or transfer of arms to the Lebanese Government. Transferring weapons to Hezbollah also violates UNSC Resolution 1559 which calls for armed non-governmental groups in Lebanon to disarm.