Missiles kill pro-regime fighters in Syria

At least 26 pro-government fighters, including a number of Iranians, were killed in a missile attack on a Syrian army base in northern Syria late Sunday, the Associated Press reported.

Analysts on Hadashot News said they did not expect a Syrian or Iranian response to the attack, especially as Iran itself denied any losses in the attack.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group based in the United Kingdom, said that 26 pro-Syrian government soldiers died in the blast.

Two-hundred Iranian missiles destroyed in a strike on a Syrian base were reportedly to be used against Israel.

A Syrian army-organized tour on April 20 shows a member of the Syrian government forces walking past a Syrian government flag with a portrait hanging nearby of President Bashar al-Assad, in the Eastern Ghouta town of Douma on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. However, a source in the pro-Shiite Iranian-backed forces in Syria said that Iran had indeed lost at least 11 of its personnel in the attacks, with a total of 16 killed. The second hit Al Nayrab military airport in Aleppo and no casualties were reported, according to SOHR, which monitors Syria's civil war through a network of activists on the ground.

Syria blamed Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom for the states, adding that 18 Iranian nationals were killed.

"We remain deeply concerned about Iran's unsafe escalation of threats to Israel and the region and Iran's ambition to dominate the Middle East remains", Pompeo said after a almost two-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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The capacity of the Israeli strikes against Syria may be linked to the strengthening of Iran's positions. "If that leads to an escalation, it will be on the heads of Iran and not the state of Israel".

The United States, Jordan and Assad's main ally Russian Federation have declared a ceasefire zone in southwest Syria, near the border with Israel, and on Monday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington's strategy there "remains unchanged".

Iran has forces deployed in Syria to support Assad's regime, as well as supervising the involvement of several Shiite militia groups it sponsors, some of them from other countries such as Iraq or Afghanistan.

Another rebel confirmed media reports that Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in another part of the enclave had also agreed to leave for northern Syria.

A military source was quoted as saying by SANA that the "new aggression" by Syria's enemies had taken place at around 10:30pm (19:30 GMT) on Sunday.

Following a meeting with Netanyahu on Sunday, newly-appointed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington was committed to "rolling back to the gull range of Iranian malign influence in Syria", specifically mentioning "Iran's missile systems, its support for Hezbollah, its importation of thousands of Shiite fighters into Syria".

  • Megan Austin