Suspected Israeli missile strikes hit two Iran-linked military bases in Syria, according to a monitoring group on Monday, sharpening regional tensions as rival forces wage shadow wars across the war-ravaged country.
Israel will do whatever it takes to wipe out Iranian military capabilities in Syria, even if that means targeting heavily populated neighborhoods, a senior adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
Hezbollah is among the key backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who also counts on support from Iran and Russian Federation. A fire at the depot broke out as a result of the attack, he said.
Overnight there were massive explosions at multiple military bases in Syria, including bases believed to be run by Iran.
Israel has also been blamed for the air attack in conflicting reports.
Iranian news Agency ISNA reports that on the night of Monday, April 30, in a series of missile strikes on military bases in Syria killed 18 of the Iranians.
Iran's semiofficial news agency Mehr quoted an unidentified Iranian military official who denied that any Iranian forces had been targeted in Syria.More news: What did Michelle Wolf actually say about Sarah Sanders at the WHCD?
Israel's ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, revealed last week that Iran has a force of 80,000 Shiite fighters in Syria.
The attack comes as Syrian state television broadcast footage of work to clear roads into part of a pocket in south Damascus where fighting had raged, to allow some rebels there to withdraw in a surrender deal, it said. "A strong cooperation with strong allies like you is critical to countering Iran's destabilizing and malign ambitions", Pompeo said, adding that the USA "was with Israel in this fight" and that "we strongly support Israel's right to defend itself".
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed in an interview on Thursday to strike at any attempt by Iran to establish a "military foothold" in Syria.
Unconfirmed reports stated that an Iranian general was killed in the strike on Brigade 47 and former IDF intelligence chief Major General Amos Yadlin warned of a more volatility if Iranians were indeed killed in the strike.
Syria-based opposition media activist Mohamad Rasheed said that base that came under attack is about 10 kilometers (7 miles) outside the city of Hama, adding that the airstrike led to several explosions in the arms depot.
Earlier, state television said successive blasts were heard in rural Hama province and that authorities were investigating the cause.