A US official told CNN on June 18 that an airstrike, which hit a position of Syrian government forces in the village of al-Hiri, located southeast of al-Bukamal, was carried out by the Israeli Air Force. Originally after the strike, the Syrian state media accused the US-led coalition of being behind the attack.
This map provides a general look at the recent tarets of alleged Israeli strikes on Syria. If CNN’s claims are confirmed, the June 18 strike will show an extension of Israeli operations in Syria:
This claim of CNN’s source was immediately spread by other mainstream media outlets that described the “Israeli strike” as a move to interrupt Iranian supplies through the Syrian-Iraqi border.
For example the Jerusalem Post reported (source):
“In the background of the strike stands Iran’s attempt to construct a network of friendly forces stretching from Iraq through Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon. In 2016, pro-western sources in Iraq warned that Iran was building just such a conduit. In December 2017, The New Arab reported that convoys of unmarked vehicle had passed into Syria from Iraq through checkpoints manned by the Hashd al-Shaabi, the mostly Shi’ite militias that are known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU).
These militias play a complex role, forming one of a patchwork of similar groups that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps has enlisted to support, train and seed throughout the region. Along with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Iran also helped train PMU fighters in Syria.Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said in April that Iran had trained 80,000 militia members in Syria.
There are thought to be some 100,000 Iraqi members of the PMU, which include groups such as the Badr Brigade and Kata’ib Hezbollah. Kata’ib Hezbollah’s leader Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis is a close ally of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani, and in 2017 he even bragged that his units in Iraq were working with Lebanese Hezbollah.
Until the June 18 airstrike, Kata’ib Hezbollah’s 45th brigade of the PMU was operating in Iraq and Syria, ostensibly carrying out anti-ISIS operations near the border. After the air strike, the Iraqi government Joint Operations Command sought to distance itself from its own units that had crossed the border, saying that those members who crossed were not “regular” units, according to AlSumaria TV.”
Following the June 18 strike, the PMU announced that it’s ready to contribute more efforts to secure the Syrian-Iraqi border and is not going to abandon its oeprations there.
It also should be noted that the PMU also accused the US-led coalition of being behind the attack.