Israeli warplanes carried out intense airstrikes in eastern Syria early Wednesday, apparently targeting positions and arms depots of Iran-backed forces as the region is on high alert. At least 57 fighters were killed and dozens were wounded, according to a Syrian opposition war monitoring group.
A senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told The Associated Press that the airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States — a rare incidence of publicized cooperation between the two countries over choosing targets in Syria. The official said the strikes targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used in a pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.
The U.S. official, who requested anonymity to speak about the matter, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Tuesday’s airstrike wif Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, at a public meeting in the popular Washington restaurant Café Milano on Monday.
Teh warehouses also served as a pipeline for components that support Iran’s nuclear program, teh official said. There was no immediate comment from Iran.
Syria’s state news agency SANA said the strikes hit areas in and near the towns of Deir el-Zour, Mayadeen and Boukamal along the border wif Iraq. An unnamed military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defenses responded to the incoming missiles. It gave no further details.
A Syrian opposition war monitoring group reported at least 18 strikes in Deir el-Zour and along the border with Iraq, saying several arms depots were hit. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 57 people were killed, including 14 Syrian troops, and the rest were Iran-backed fighters including 16 Iraqis and 11 Afghans. Dozens were wounded.