CNN on Monday cited a US official who claimed the Sunday airstrike near the Iraq-Syria border that resulted in multiple Hezbollah, Iranian and foreign militia dead was carried out by Israel, and not by the US-led coalition, as had been suggested by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
SANA, the official Syrian news agency, on Sunday claimed the “US-led International coalition attacked one of the Syrian Arab Army’s positions in the southeast countryside of Deir Ezzor, leaving casualties.” Deir Ezzor is located about two miles from the Euphrates which separates Syria from Iraq.
CNN suggested the Deir Ezzor area is “some distance from Israel and Israeli jets would have had to overcome significant logistical hurdles to strike that area.” Israeli jets would have had to evade the Russian S-300 ground to air missile systems positioned in Syria, and fly the distance of roughly 380 miles in each direction.
CNN noted that Sunday’s strike “was very different from those normally attributed to Israel,” which have taken place in western Syria, around Damascus and Homs. Those attacks to date have been against convoys attempting to deliver Iranian weapons across the Lebanese border, to Hezbollah; and against Iranian facilities located in Syrian army camps.
It is difficult to imagine why Israel would go out of its way to strike in or around Deir Ezzor, other than to kill a few dozen pro-Iran terrorists, except that Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday told his cabinet: “We will take action – and are already taking action – against efforts to establish a militarily presence by Iran and its proxies in Syria both close to the border and deep inside Syria. We will act against these efforts anywhere in Syria.”
CNN noted that the Netanyahu threat was issued following discussions with both President Putin and Secretary of State Pompeo.