By Pesach Benson, United With Israel -
Pro-Iranian militias vowed a “harsh response” to what they claimed was a joint Israeli-U.S. airstrike in Syria on Wednesday night. In a statement issued by the “Syria Allies Operations Room,” the proxy forces confirmed that several of their men were killed in an attack on facilities near the central Syrian city of Palmyra.
Their claims of U.S. involvement may have stemmed from Syrian reports that the attack came from the direction of Al-Tanf. The U.S. military maintains a token garrison in an opposition-controlled area near the convergence of the Syrian, Jordanian and Iraqi borders.
Neither Israeli nor the U.S. confirmed any connection to the attack. Israeli officials don’t comment on specific air strikes, but generally confirm taking action against Iran’s proxies to thwart the transfer of advanced weaponry and pre-empt attacks.
As a routine precaution, Israel announced it was closing its airspace over the Golan Heights for at least 24 hours.
The number of casualties from the attack on Palymra weren’t clear.
The militias’ statement didn’t specify how many were killed, while Syria’s state-run SANA News only confirmed that one Syrian soldier was killed and three others were injured. Syrian media routinely downplays the presence of foreign forces operating in Syria in support of President Bashar Assad.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on the other hand, said that three militia men were killed and four were wounded.
SANA reported the strike hit a “communications tower and some areas around it.”
The strike was the second in Syria in the past week. On Friday, Syria’s T-4 air base, where Hezbollah is known to have a significant presence, was hit. Reports suggested that the target was a drone depot.