57 people were killed and 37 others were wounded in the recent Israeli strikes on the eastern Syrian governorate of Deir Ezzor, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on January 13.
The strikes, which took place in the early morning, targeted a number of military positions between Deir Ezzor city and the town of al-Bukamal in the governorate’s southern countryside.
According to the SOHR, the casualties include 14 Syrian service members as well as 43 foreign fighters, mostly Iraqi and Afghan nationals, from armed groups loyal to Iran.
The numbers provided by the SOHR may be inaccurate. The monitoring group tends to exaggerate the losses of Syrian government forces. Pro-government sources have so far reported the death of five service members only.
In a related development, a number of media sources alleged that Saleh Abdul Amir Nassif, also known as Abu Yatem al-Katrani – the commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) 4th Brigade, was killed in the Israeli strikes on Deir Ezzor. The PMU confirmed al-Katrani’s death in an official statement, but did not clarify where or when the commander was killed.
The Israeli strikes on Deir Ezzor were the heaviest since the beginning of 2021, and among the largest aerial attacks on pro-government forces in eastern Syria since the outbreak of the war.
The repeated Israel strikes on Syria are meant to pressure Damascus and force Iranian troops and their allies out of the war-torn country. This will not likely happen anytime soon.
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