Syria War Monitor: Israeli Strikes Killed 23 Fighters

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -
Missile fire is seen from Damascus, Syria, Thursday. (Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)

A Syrian war monitoring group said that the Israeli attacks on several sites in Syria have killed 23 fighters, including five Syrian soldiers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Thursday the overnight attacks struck several military posts for Syrian troops and Iranian-backed militias near the capital, Damascus, in central Syria and in southern Syria.

The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, said five Syrian soldiers, including two officers, and 18 militia fighters were killed. Abdurrahman says it is not immediately clear if Iranians were among those killed.

He added that the toll is likely to rise because some of the wounded are in critical condition.

The Observatory says the strikes targeted suspected locations of the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group, as well as areas where Iranian advisers are believed to be based.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that 28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter jets launched about 60 air-to-surface missiles during the two-hour raid early Thursday. It says Israel also fired over 10 tactical surface-to-surface missiles.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and has been waging its own air campaign on his behalf since 2015.