Recent Israeli strikes in Syria killed 140 Iranians and allied militia: monitor
JACK GUEZ (AFP)
Alleged Israeli air strikes in Syria over the last five months have killed some 140 people from Iran's military forces and allied militias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in an estimate released Monday.
The Britain-based monitor said 113 of those had been killed in strikes attributed to Israel in the last two months alone.
Earlier this month Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz admitted for the first time that Israel had carried out around 200 air strikes in Syria over the last two years.
The Israeli military chiefly targets shipments or production sites of "advanced weapons" it fears are destined for use against it either inside Syria or from Lebanon by Shiite militia Hezbollah.
Many of those arrive on cargo flights from Iran.
Warehouses, airports and air bases near Damascus, Aleppo and Homs have been frequent alleged targets. The Israeli military typically does not comment on reports of individual strikes.
Israeli leaders from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu down have insisted they will not allow Iran to entrench itself militarily, and have also enlisted the diplomatic support of Russia and the United States to achieve the goal.
In early May the Israeli Air Force said it hit dozens of targets across Syria after Iranian forces fired rockets into the Israeli-held Golan Heights.
The Observatory, which relies on a network of local sources in war-torn Syria, also estimated that 28 Syrian government forces and allied personnel were killed in explosions at weapons depots thought to be the result of accidental overheating.
It added that it had not noticed any withdrawal from Syria of Iranian forces and Shiite militias -- including fighters from Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and countries in Asia.
The new estimate came as Israel's Ministry of Defense released satellite images of Damascus International Airport, a Syrian army base and President Bashar al-Assad's official palace.
The three pictures were released to mark 30 years since the launch of Israel's first spy satellite, Ofek 1.
Using images collected in Israel's northern neighbor appear designed to cause consternation in the Assad regime, who also faces mounting international pressure over an offensive to blast rebel forces out of the northern province of Idlib.
Since 1988 Israel has successfully launched several satellites into orbit, which are used for military, intelligence-gathering and scientific purposes.
שלושים שנה לשיגור הלוויין הראשון: משרד הביטחון והתעשייה האווירית חושפים לראשונה את סרטון שיגור אופק 1 מספטמבר 1988— משרד הביטחון (@MoDIsrael) September 17, 2018
בנוסף, לראשונה נחשפים צילומי מודיעין של לוויין התצפית אופק 11https://t.co/Fsom15pL9V pic.twitter.com/0r9JA1nSGS
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