Image used for illustrative purposes Image Credit: AP

Cairo: Israel launched Wednesday a series of intense airstrikes in Syria, killing 57 military personnel in the highest toll from such attacks in the war-wracked country, 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 near the border with Iraq, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The fatalities were mostly Iran-allied militiamen, the UK-based monitor said. Ten Syrian soldiers were killed in the bombardment that also destroyed several arms depots in the area, 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 major allies 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.