Missile attack in Syria kills 26 pro-regime fighters

Damascus: A Syria war monitoring group has said an overnight missile attack in the country’s northern region has killed 26 pro-regime fighters, mostly Iranians.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attack appears to have been carried out by Israel and targeted an arms depot for surface-to-surface missiles at a base in northern Syria known as Brigade 47. The Observatory said four Syrians were also among casualties.
Tehran has sent thousands of Iran-backed fighters to back Bashar al Assad’s forces in the country’s seven-year civil war.
The monitor also reported missiles hitting positions near the Nairab air base and Aleppo airport.
Earlier on Monday, Syrian regime TV reported a “new aggression,” with missiles targeting military outposts in northern Syria.
Syrian regime TV reported early on Monday that the missiles targeted outposts in the Hama and Aleppo countryside. It did not say who fired the missiles or whether there were any casualties or damage.
The news comes less than two weeks after a similar report of air strikes on regime installations in the central Homs region and the suburbs of Damascus. But the regime forces later said a false alarm had set off air defence systems.
Earlier this month, seven Iranian military personnel were killed in an air strike on Syria’s T4 air base in the central Homs province. Syria, Iran and Russia blamed Israel for that attack. Israel, which has frequently targeted what it says are weapons shipments to the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah in Syria, did not confirm or deny it.
The US, Britain and France also carried out joint air strikes on Syrian regime facilities April 13, in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held town near Damascus they blamed on Bashar al Assad’s regime.
There was no immediate comment from Israel or the United States.
Briefly captured
Syrian regime forces on Sunday briefly captured four villages east of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor after rare clashes with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), then lost the area in a counteroffensive by the YPG-led force.
The area close to the border with Iraq has been the site of recent clashes between the two sides that had been focusing on fighting Daesh.
Crossings into the east bank of the Euphrates in eastern Syria by regime forces have been rare.
The regime’s news agency SANA said the villages briefly captured by regime forces on Sunday were held by the SDF, adding that they are close to the provincial capital, also called Deir Ezzor. The SDF – largely comprised of YPG militants with ties to the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US and the EU – said in a statement later that it regained control of the whole area it earlier lost.
Much of Deir Ezzor province was held by Daesh but over the past year Syrian regime forces captured most areas west of the Euphrates while SDF militants took areas east of the river.
On February 7, pro-Syrian regime fighters attacked SDF positions east of the river and faced a ferocious US counterattack that left dozens, including Russians, dead.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday’s offensive left six SDF militants dead and 22 wounded, adding that there were also casualties on the regime side.
The Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman said SDF militants took back most of the area except for one village.