Military

Syrian state media reports Israel artillery strikes in Quneitra

Syrian state media on Monday evening said Israel had launched multiple strikes on military positions in Quneitra, an area along the Golan Heights border.

According to state media, Israeli tank artillery hit a demolished hospital and an observation post in Quneitra, adding there had only been material damage.

According to local Syrian reports, Israeli tanks shelled a number of Assad regime positions in Quneitra. If confirmed, the Israeli strikes would be the first on regime positions along the Golan Heights border since mid-2018.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights war monitor said seven shells struck regime positions in Quneitra, including a surveillance post. The Britain-based monitor said the attack caused casualties, without giving any figures

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) did not immediately confirm or deny responsibility for the strikes, simply stating that “per protocol, the IDF does not acknowledge foreign reports” on strikes.

Israel has previously acknowledged carrying out hundreds of attacks in Syria over the years against what it says are Iranian military targets and advanced arms deliveries to Hezbollah.

Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot confirming just before he left his post that the IDF had carried out “hundreds of strikes” in its northern neighbor targeting Iran and its allies.

However, a strike against Assad positions, as initially reported, would be quite unusual, especially so close to the Israeli border.

Just a few months ago, Israel reopened its side of the Quneitra border crossing following a joint deal with Syria and the US, who urged the two Middle East countries to facilitate the work of peacekeepers in the zone.

The opening of the border was meant to allow UN peacekeepers to step up their efforts to prevent hostilities in the Golan Heights region, and came as a result of Assad forces retaking the Syrian side of the crossing in July under a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Moscow.

AFP contributed to this report. 

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