It was the second strike on positions controlled by Shiite militias in the Boukamal region of Syria in as many days, and the third in a month. Some Syrian and Iraqi outlets said Israel was suspected of being behind the strikes. There were no such public allegations by Syrian or Iraqi officials.
On September 9, aircraft targeted an arms depot and posts of Iranian-backed militias in the Boukamal region, killing at least 18 fighters and destroying at least eight storehouses. A Syrian security official said at the time that Israeli jets were behind the attack but denied there were casualties.
The latest round of attacks on Iran’s military complex in Syria’s Abu Kamal region are a joint operation by the Israeli and Saudi air forces, DEBKAfile and Gulf military sources reported on Friday, Sept. 20.
Their targets are the al Qods Brigades bases, command centers, missile and ammo stores which Iran has set up close to the Syrian-Iraqi border, as well as Iraqi Shiite militia and Lebanese Hizballah forces. An estimated 100 Iranian and militia combatants were reported killed in the joint operation and several hundred injured.
Western military sources report that the “unidentified” UAVs sighted lately flying over Iranian concentrations in Syria belong to Saudi Arabia. One was shot down on Thursday. Those sources add that the US is providing air cover, as well as running intelligence, but not otherwise intervening in the first Saudi-Israel military collaboration ever to be revealed. It was part of President Donald Trump’s rationale when he decided to hold off from direct US military action in retaliation for Iran’s crippling missile-cum-drone assault on the Saudi oil procession plant at Abqaiq and the Kurais oilfield last Saturday. Trump appears to be waiting to see how the still ongoing Israeli-Saudi offensive against Iran turns out.