US-Assisted Israeli Attacks in East Syria Kill at Least 57

18 targets hit along Iraq-Syria border

Described by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as the deadliest strike since June 2018, Israeli warplanes carried out a flurry of attacks overnight in eastern Syria, killing at least 57, including Syrian soldiers and Shi’ite militia members.

18 strikes were hit along the Syria-Iraq border. The slain included Syrian troops, Iraqi Shi’ite militias and Afghan militia members. Israel refused to comment on the attacks, as they typically do with strikes on Syria. The attacks came after a secret meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Israel has been escalating attacks on targets in Syria for awhile, and this was the fourth set of attacks in the past two weeks. The attacks are seen as trying to provoke a response from Iran, while Iran is trying to wait for Trump to leave office.

US officials are pointing to their own involvement with this, saying Mike Pompeo provided the intelligence to Mossad. They suggested the intelligence was about Iranian arms. It’s not clear why so many troops were killed if warehouses were the target.

This is a much bigger attack than most, in which Israel kills a handful of Shi’ites, and the Israeli press labels them Iranians, even though they rarely are. It isn’t clear if any Iranians were slain in this attack, though some of the slain have not been identified yet.

The Syrian Observatory suggested Iranian-made weapons were being stored in this area where the attacks took place. Again, Israel hasn’t commented directly, so its unclear why they attacked or what they intended to target.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.