Tank truck syria
A tank truck advances on a road at the Rumaylan (Rmeilan) oil fields in Syria's Kurdish-controlled northeastern Hasakeh province, on January 6, 2021, transporting the valuable resource to government-controlled areas. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Israel launched early Wednesday a series of airstrikes in Syria, the second such attack this year, killing at least 23 military personnel, a monitoring group said.

The strikes hit positions of the government forces and their allied Lebanese Hezbollah and pro-Iran militias in Syria’s eastern governorate of Deir Al Zour, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The 23 fatalities included seven Syrian soldiers and the rest were Iran-allied militiamen, the UK-based monitor said. The toll is likely to rise as 28 others were wounded in the strikes, some of them critically, it added.

Syria’s official news agency SANA reported the strikes in the eastern cities of Deir Al Zour and Al Bukamal, saying that “results of the aggression” are being checked.

Last week, Syrian state media said that Syrian air defence systems had repelled Israeli rockets fired at “some targets” and destroyed most of them in the south of the country. At least three people were killed in those attacks that targeted sites of Iran-allied and Hezbollah militias, according to the Observatory.

Iran and Hezbollah are a major ally of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.

In recent years, Israel has unleashed a string of airstrikes in war-wracked Syria mainly targeting Iranian military facilities and militias there. In a rare disclosure, the Israeli army said it had hit about 50 targets inside Syria.