Syria Monitor: Death Toll Reaches 23 in Israeli Strike

israel syria
A missile over Damascus, Wednesday. (Reuters/Firas Makdesi)

A war monitoring group says the death toll from Israeli airstrikes in Syria has risen to 23, including 15 non-Syrians, some of them Iranians.

The attack came in response to four missiles that were fired at Israel from Syria Tuesday morning.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition activist group with a network of activists across Syria, released the figures on Wednesday’s airstrikes.

He said the dead included five Syrian troops, 16 Iranian and Iran-backed fighters, and two Syrian civilians.

The Observatory earlier reported that 11 people were killed, including seven foreigners.

Abdurrahman earlier said the Israeli airstrikes targeted several areas in the capital Damascus and its suburbs.

“The rules have changed,” Defense Minister Naftali Bennett said after the attack on Wednesday.

“Anyone who fires at Israel will not sleep at night. That is what happened last week,” when Israeli security agents eliminated top Islamic Jihad terrorist Abu al-Ata, “and that is how it is this week.”

The IDF confirmed that it carried out a “wide-scale” strike on Iranian targets in Syria, including surface-to-air missiles, weapons warehouses and military bases.

The military said it also struck positions of the Syrian army after a Syrian air defense missile was fired.

“We struck a building staffed by Iranians at the Damascus airport. We assess that there are Iranians killed and injured,” an Israeli senior defense official was quoted by The Times of Israel on Wednesday, on condition of anonymity.

The French government voiced support for the Israeli action: “France reaffirms its unwavering commitment to Israel’s security,” Foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll told reporters in a daily online briefing, Reuters said.

“It reaffirms that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis and stresses the need to avoid a dangerous escalation of tensions in the Middle East. It asks Iran to refrain from any destabilizing activity in Syria.”

However, the Russian reaction was censorious, as it has been in a number of recent IDF operations in Syria. Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Wednesday that Israeli air strikes on Syria were a wrong move, and Moscow had contacted its allies about the incident, Interfax reported.

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