On April 27, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) reportedly carried out a series of airstrikes on Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) bases housing Hezbollah and other Shia militia forces, in the cities of Al Kiswah and Set Zaynab, south of the Syrian capital Damascus, killing four Iranian soldiers, according to several sources.
The airstrike was the third Israeli attack on the IRGC and Hezbollah forces in southern Syria since the outbreak of coronavirus, which has halted military operations in that country. Iran rarely releases casualty reports after Israeli strikes on IRGC positions in Syria, but it does hold low-key funerals for those killed in the attacks.
“At least four Iranian militants and three civilians were killed, and another four people were wounded, including a child, after Syrian air defense systems were activated in response to an alleged Israeli airstrike targeting the Damascus area from Lebanese airspace early Monday morning,” the Jerusalem Post reported on April 28, quoting the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR).
The Syrian military confirmed the Israeli airstrikes but said no one was killed in the attack.
“Syrian army air defenses at dawn Monday repelled Israeli missile aggression from Lebanese airspace towards Syrian territory, downing most of the missiles,” the pro-government Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) said in its English-language edition on April 27. “A military source said in a statement to SANA that at 4:55 a.m. Israeli warplanes, from over southern Lebanon, fired several missiles towards Syrian territory. The air defenses immediately responded to the hostile missiles and shot down most of them.”
“The missiles which reached their target, according to the source, caused some material damages, but no human casualties,” the report added.
On the same day, several Lebanese sources reported that Israeli fighter jets had flown over Lebanese airspace before striking Syrian military positions near Damascus.
In comments reported by The Jerusalem Post a day earlier, the Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett warned that his country would not “lower its guard and is more determined than Iran.”
“For Iran, Syria is an adventure far from home, 1,000 kilometers from home, from the Golan Heights. For us, it is life,” Mr. Naftali explained. “Iranian soldiers who come to Syria and operate within Syria: Their blood is on their hands. They are risking their lives and paying with their lives. We will not allow the establishment of an advanced Iranian base in Syria.”
This article was translated and adapted from Persian by Fardine Hamidi.